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Washington Ballet artistic director Septime Webre will leave the company when his current contract ends in June, according to a release from the dance company issued this afternoon. Webre says he has no firm future plans but that he looks forward to creating new works and staging the pieces he’s choreographed for Washington Ballet with other companies around the nation. The ballet’s board of directors will immediately begin a search for a new director.

Over the past 17 years, Webre has worked to connect the ballet company with other cultural institutions across D.C. He was instrumental in creating TWB@THEARC, an initiative that brings performances and dance classes to the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus in Ward 8. He also partnered with curators at the Smithsonian American Art Museum when creating his production of Sleepy Hollow last winter. During Webre’s tenure, enrollment at the Washington School of Ballet and the ballet’s annual budget have grown exponentially.

Although Webre will move on when the season ends, fans of his best known work can rest easy: his adaptation of The Nutcracker will continue to be performed in D.C. in future holiday seasons.

Photo courtesy of Washington Ballet