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The Hamburg State Opera announced Tuesday that it has extended the contract of its long-serving ballet chief, US-born John Neumeier, for another four years.
Neumeier, 71, has led Hamburg's state ballet for 40 years and was made its "intendant" or artistic chief in 1996. His current contract had been scheduled to expire in 2015.
But the Hamburg authorities -- the state opera and the city-state's senate -- voted to extend his contract until 2019, the ballet company said in a statement.
"John Neumeier and his company has made Hamburg one of the world's most important centres for dance," said the city's culture senator Barbara Kisseler.
Neumeier said: "I am happy to be able to continue my work in Hamburg. The extension of my contract by four years will help safeguard the work and tradition we have built up over 40 years."
A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Neumeier directed the Frankfurt ballet before he went to Hamburg in 1973.