The Boston Ballet is an American professional classical ballet company based in Boston, Massachusetts. The company, founded in 1963 by E. Virginia Williams, and Sydney Leonard, was the first professional repertory ballet company in New England. Boston Ballet’s national and international reputation developed under the leadership of Artistic Directors Violette Verdy (1980–1984), Bruce Marks (1985–1997), and Anna-Marie Holmes (1997–2000). Today, Boston Ballet is one of the major ballet companies in North America and among the top companies in the world. Current Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen was selected to lead Boston Ballet in September 2001. Under his artistic direction, Boston Ballet maintains an internationally recognized repertoire of classical, neo-classical and contemporary works, ranging from full-length story ballets to masterworks by George Balanchine, to new works and world premieres by contemporary choreographers. Nissinen leads the company, and Boston Ballet School, the largest ballet school in North America, with Executive Director Meredith (Max) Hodges.