will step down from the artistic directorship of Kansas City Ballet after the 2012-13 season.
Whitener also commissioned 17 new works for the company by American choreographers, such as Jessica Lang and Donald McKayle, as well as presenting historically significant works.
In 2011, the Kansas City Ballet moved performances from the Lyric Theatre to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, and opened the Todd Bolender Center for the Dance and Creativity. The company's budget has grown from $2.5 to $7 million.
As a dancer and a choreographer, Whitener, 60, has worked in a range of media and genres: formal ballet, Broadway musicals, film and television. After working almost exclusively with dance companies for 20 years, Whitener said, he wanted to get back to explore broader opportunities with different kinds of artists.
"I miss working with actors and singers and ice skaters," he said. "In my past I've had a wide variety of experience, which has been very interesting to share with people in the dance world. I most identify with those artists who have worked on Broadway and in dance companies. … My freelance work to date has been in musical theater, opera and television, and I'm gonna give it a go...."