Edward Villella to retire

The founder and artistic director of Miami City Ballet is to retire at the end of the 2012-2013 season.

Edward Villella, a former star of New York City Ballet, is one of the longest serving dance artistic directors in the world, having founded the company in 1986.

The Miami Herald reported that the announcement came as a surprise, “although, given Villella’s age – he turns 75 on October 1 – it was not entirely unexpected”.

Villella declined to be interviewed. He told the company’s dancers and staff of his decision at a tearful meeting yesterday.

The company’s chair, Ana-Marie Codina Barlick said that were no concerns about Villella’s health or leadership, however a small group of board members had been discussing his succession for some time.

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Edward Villella as Oberon in Midsummer Night’s Dream, photo courtesy New York City Ballet archive