Leanne Benjamin was born in Rockhampton, Australia. At 16 she joined The Royal Ballet School winning the Adeline Genée gold medal and the Prix de Lausanne and she performed the role of Giselle at Covent Garden in the Royal Ballet School’s annual performance.
Leanne joined Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet in 1983, English National Ballet in 1988 and the Deutsche Oper Ballet Berlin in 1990 before joining the Royal Ballet in 1992 at Kenneth MacMillan’s invitation, where she performed as a principal dancer for 21 years.
Her wide repertory included most of the classical and neo-classical repertoire. She created new roles for choreographers including, Wayne McGregor, Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon and Twyla Tharp and was one of the last dancers to work with Ninette de Valois, Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan.
In 2004 and 2009, Leanne was recognized as Best Female Dancer in the Critic’s Circle Dance Awards and in 2013 she was given the De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance.
In 2005 Leanne received an OBE in recognition of her services to dance, in 2014 an Honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts by Central Queensland University and in 2015 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia. In 2016 Leanne was appointed a Governor of The Royal Ballet Companies and became the Vice- Chair in 2020. Leanne is the Patron of the Tait Memorial Trust where an annual award is given in her name to support young Australian and New Zealand Dancers to train in the UK. She is now coaching pre-professional students and working with a number of international ballet companies as a coach to their principal dancers.
On September 3rd, Leanne with will judge for All England Dance on the UK Classical Dancer prize. The finals will be held at the Clore Studio, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London on 3 September 2023.
The winners will receive £1500, and the runners-up £750.
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