Published: Sep 23, 2011 3:41 PM EDT

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) - The Miami City Ballet's founder and artistic director will retire at the end of the next season.
    
Former New York City Ballet star Edward Villella founded the Miami Beach-based dance company in 1986. It has grown from a small group with a limited repertory to a 45-member company that commissions new works from leading choreographers and earned standing ovations during a tour in Paris in July.
    
Villella will step down after the 2012-2013 season.
    
In a statement Thursday, Villella said the company's reception in Paris was one of the top two moments of his life as an artist. The other was hearing the audience demand an encore after his performance in Moscow in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
    
The ballet's current season runs from Oct. 21 through April 2012.

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