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Leanne Benjamin

Biography

Leanne Benjamin 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. After 20 years as a Principal with The Royal Ballet, Benjamin announced her decision to retire at the end of the 2012/13 Season. She received an OBE in 2005 in recognition of her services to dance.

Benjamin was born in Rockhampton in Queensland, Australia, and began dancing at age 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 McGregor, Wheeldon, Marriott and Ratmansky. She is one of the last dancers in The Royal Ballet to have worked 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

Christopher Wheeldon rehearses Polyphonia - Royal Ballet LIVE

News and features

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

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

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

  2. Farewell to The Royal Ballet's Leanne Benjamin

    Farewell to The Royal Ballet's Leanne Benjamin

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

  3. Your chance to watch must-see productions

    Your chance to watch must-see productions

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

  4. Leanne Benjamin to retire

    Leanne Benjamin to retire

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

  5. Royal Opera House heads to Brazil

    Royal Opera House heads to Brazil

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

  6. Watch: Christopher Wheeldon rehearsing Polyphonia

    Watch: Christopher Wheeldon rehearsing Polyphonia

    See the British choreographer work with members of the Royal Ballet including Leanne Benjamin and Beatriz Stix-Brunell.