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Photography by Robert Castro

Under Iain Webb, Sarasota Ballet has become not just a hot local ticket but a national star, called “a miracle” by The New York Times. Soft-spoken, with a self-deprecating wit, Webb, a former dancer with London’s Royal Ballet, has persuaded some of his renowned connections (including his wife, former dancer Margaret Barbieri) to work with the troupe, which is building a reputation for important world premieres and revivals.

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8:21 a.m. “I walk to work every morning. The Asolo is about 10 minutes from our place. I’ve never driven—I lived in places like London and Tokyo where you don’t want to drive. I use a limo service to get around here.”

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9:20 a.m. “On my way to the studio for what we call class. Why the coat? I’m old! It keeps my muscles warm. I’m on my third cup of coffee—I’m a sorehead until I have my first cup.”

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9:44 a.m. “In class, we get the energy going and work on technique. I go in without my plan all worked out—I’ll see something and respond. My style is very mixed, with influences from Balanchine, Bolshoi, the Royal Danish Ballet and more.”

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10:34 a.m. “I’m tweaking something for Danielle Brown, one of our principal dancers. I demonstrate technique, but I can’t do things the way I did before. I try not to let the company see the pain when I land from a jump.”

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11:45 a.m. “A quick meeting about the program book with [marketing director] Mike and our development director, Brenda. If I’m not in the studio, I’m in meetings, including about three hours after 5 most days with our incredible managing director [Mary Anne Servian].”

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1:58 p.m. “The girl who looks after our dog makes me a sandwich and brings it every day. I’m standing up eating it, ready to get down to the studio for rehearsal.”

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4 p.m. “Talking to the company in afternoon rehearsals. The dancers have five hours of rehearsals plus an hour-and-a-half class every day. We have 48 dancers in the company.”

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7:49 p.m. “At Selva Grill with [choreographer] Will Tuckett. We’re doing his piece Lux Aeterna with Key Chorale this month. He’s an incredible creative mind, and great fun, too. We both had the New York strip.”

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10:52 p.m. “I spend at least an hour every night recharging my batteries in my library. I have more than 1,700 books on dance, along with art—that’s [Mikhail] Fokine’s bronze death mask. They remind me of the reason I’m here.”

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This article appears in the November 2014 issue of Sarasota Magazine. Click here to subscribe. >>