“…she is also devoted to them, and her eyes light up when she discusses the individual dancers…and the cooperative relationship that exists among them all.”
In anticipating a new work, Within This Thicket, Sybil realized she needed more advanced dancers, so she disbanded her amateur group in 1957 and began auditions. Along with the best from her previous group, a full complement of more experienced dancers performed this work at the Winnetka Community House in 1959, receiving excellent reviews. This was the forerunner of the Sybil Shearer Dance Company.
In planning her next program, Fables and Proverbs, Sybil was fortunate when Father John J. Walsh of Marquette University in Milwaukee brought a gifted student of his to work with her. JOHN NEUMEIER was a modest young man, interested in all sides of theater – dance, drama, costumes, and music. Sybil liked him very much. At the time she could not know that they would become lifelong friends and that he would rise to become the renowned director of the Hamburg Ballet in Germany.
Besides Neumeier, Sybil discovered two other young men, TOBY NICHOLSON and TOM JAREMBA, who along with MASAO YOSHIMASU, already a group member, made a wonderful combination of differences which were just what she needed for the dance she was choreographing.
On the distaff side, PAT GROEN, SHELBEE MATIS, NAN BUCK, DINAH CODY, LILLIAN LIPSON, and JOAN EHEMANN made up the roster of the Sybil Shearer Dance Company, which first performed Fables and Proverbs in April, 1961, at the Winnetka Community House. These and all future Company programs incorporated solos by Sybil Shearer, as was expected by her audiences.
In 1962 Sybil became Artist-in-Residence at National College of Education in Evanston, and the Company began performing at the College’s Arnold Theater. There they continued to perform new programs until their final performance in 1972 at the Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place in Chicago.