British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon has announced he is leaving his company, Morphoses, which he launched barely three years ago. Based jointly at Sadler’s Well in London and City Centre in New York, the company had high ambitions to create new work and a permanent troupe of dancers.

However, in a statement, Wheeldon says that in the “current climate” it has not been possible to “achieve his wish for a full-time company”.

The development will take many by surprise – not only is Wheeldon a highly rated dance maker, but his blue chip connections with The Royal Ballet (where he trained) and New York City Ballet (where he worked) looked set to guarantee funding, publicity and success.

Some have suggested that Wheeldon, having been accustomed to the supportive environment of the world’s biggest and best funded ballet companies, struggled to make it on his own.

Either way, the choreographer will stay very much on the dance Radar. He continues to work as a freelancer, including a commission for a new full-length version of Alice in Wonderland for The Royal Ballet next season. His association with Sadler’s Wells will also continue.

“Sadler’s Wells is still fully committed to Chris and he will remain as an associate artist,” says Wells artistic director Alistair Spalding. “We will continue to produce evenings of work and other projects with Christ in the future.”

Less certain is the future of Morphoses. Although the company has not been officially dissolved, it seems unlikely it could continue without Wheeldon himself.