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Leanne Benjamin

Biography

Leanne Benjamin in action.
Leanne Benjamin in Requiem, The Royal Ballet © ROH/Tristram Kenton, 2011

Australian dancer Leanne Benjamin is a former Principal of The Royal Ballet. She joined The Royal Ballet School at the age of 16 and graduated into Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet (later Birmingham Royal Ballet) in 1983. In 1992 she joined The Royal Ballet as a First Soloist and was promoted to Principal at the end of her first Season. Benjamin retired at the end of the 2012/13 Season, after 20 years as a Principal with The Royal Ballet. In 2005 she received an OBE in recognition of her services to dance.

Benjamin was born in Rockhampton in Queensland, Australia, and began dancing aged three. After training locally she followed her older sister to study at The Royal Ballet School, and while at the School won the 1980 Adeline Genée gold medal and the 1981 Prix de Lausanne. At Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet she was promoted to principal in 1987; the following year she joined London Festival Ballet as a principal and in 1990 joined Deutsche Oper Ballet.

Benjamin's wide-spanning repertory included Juliet, Manon, the Firebird and Odette/Odile (Swan Lake), among many others, and creating new roles for choreographers including Wayne McGregor, Christopher Wheeldon, Alastair Marriott and Alexei Ratmansky. She was one of the last dancers of The Royal Ballet to work with all of its founding choreographers: Ninette de Valois, Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan. Her final performance at the Royal Opera House was as Mary Vetsera in Mayerling on 15 June 2013, a role she first danced with the Company on 10 November 1992.

Videos

News and features

The Leanne Benjamin Awards established

The Leanne Benjamin Awards established

1 May 2014

Former Royal Ballet Principal launches a scholarship scheme for young Australian dancers in collaboration with the Tait Memorial Trust.

Christopher Wheeldon, Natalia Osipova and Leanne Benjamin win at National Dance Awards

Christopher Wheeldon, Natalia Osipova and Leanne Benjamin win at National Dance Awards

27 January 2014

Awards presented by the Critics’ Circle, a panel of 50 professional dance writers and critics.

Farewell to The Royal Ballet's Leanne Benjamin

Farewell to The Royal Ballet's Leanne Benjamin

14 June 2013

Send us your farewell wishes for Leanne as she makes her final Covent Garden performance in Mayerling.

Your chance to watch must-see productions

Your chance to watch must-see productions

12 June 2013

Boxes still available for summer productions, including Mara Galeazzi and Leanne Benjamin’s final performances.

Leanne Benjamin to retire

Leanne Benjamin to retire

4 April 2013

Royal Ballet Principal to retire after 21 years with the Company.

Royal Opera House heads to Brazil

Royal Opera House heads to Brazil

12 February 2013

Artists from Royal Ballet and Royal Opera to perform at Rio’s Theatro Municipal.

Photos

Leanne Benjamin's final curtain call © ROH/Andrej Uspenski, 2013

Leanne Benjamin's final curtain call © ROH/Andrej Uspenski, 2013

Leanne Benjamin

Leanne Benjamin and Carlos Acosta in Requiem © Bill Cooper / ROH 2012

Carlos Acosta and Leanne Benjamin in Machina, Metamorphosis: Titian 2012. © ROH/Johan Persson, 2012.

Leanne Benjamin in rehearsals for Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, with Edward Watson and Carlos Acosta. © ROH/The Ballet Bag 2012

Nehemiah Kish and Leanne Benjamin in Polyphonia © Bill Cooper/ROH 2012

Nehemiah Kish and Leanne Benjamin in Polyphonia © Bill Cooper/ROH 2012

Nehemiah Kish and Leanne Benjamin in Polyphonia, The Royal Ballet © ROH/Bill Cooper, 2012

Steven McRae and Leanne Benjamin in Manon © Johan Persson/ROH 2011

Steven McRae and Leanne Benjamin in Manon © Johan Persson/ROH 2011

Leanne Benjamin and Steven McRae in Manon © Johan Persson/ROH 2011

Steven McRae and Leanne Benjamin in Manon © Johan Persson/ROH 2011

Steven McRae and Leanne Benjamin in Manon © Johan Persson/ROH 2011

Steven McRae and Leanne Benjamin in Manon © Johan Persson/ROH 2011

Leanne Benjamin and Edward Watson in Invitus Invitam © Johan Persson/ROH 2011

Leanne Benjamin and Edward Watson in Invitus Invitam © Johan Persson/ROH 2011

Leanne Benjamin and Edward Watson in Invitus Invitam © Johan Persson/ROH 2011

Leanne Benjamin in Requiem © Tristram Kenton/ROH 2011

Leanne Benjamin in Requiem, The Royal Ballet © ROH/Tristram Kenton, 2011

Leanne Benjamin in Emeralds as part of Jewels © Johan Persson/ROH 2007