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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.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

14 June 2013 at 5.15pm | 22 Comments

Royal Ballet Principal Leanne Benjamin will give her final Covent Garden performance in Mayerling on Saturday 15 June.

The Australian dancer joined The Royal Ballet as a First Soloist in 1992 after dancing with Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, Deutsche Oper Ballet and London Festival Ballet. She was promoted to the rank of Principal in 1993 and since then has danced all the leading classical roles as well as having a number of roles created on her by choreographers including Wayne McGregor, Christopher Wheeldon, Kim Brandstrup and Alexei Ratmansky. Excelling in the MacMillan repertory, Leanne also worked with Frederick Ashton and Ninette De Valois. She was awarded the OBE in 2005 for services to dance.

Leanne's final performance will see her partnered by Carlos Acosta.

Watch Leanne rehearsing Polyphonia with choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, filmed as part of Royal Ballet LIVE:

Read an in-depth interview with Leanne on the Arts Desk website

Listen to an interview with Leanne on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour

We wish Leanne all the very best for the future.

What are your most treasured memories of seeing Leanne Benjamin performing with The Royal Ballet? If you’ve got any comments and wishes you’d like to send Leanne for her final performance, send them via the comment form below.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

14 June 2013 at 5.15pm

This article has been categorised Ballet and tagged Leanne Benjamin, retirement

This article has 22 comments

  1. kj responded on 15 June 2013 at 2:15am Reply

    Please No! say it isn't true!... happy retirement Leanne you deserve it!
    Having watched alot of your lengthy career, it is impossible to say exactly what role or piece I enjoyed more. I've just loved to see you dance, as I've loved to see Cojocaru, Rojo, Durante and Guillem before. The end of an era. Leanne you've been great in both traditional roles and contemporary or abstract works, I've sort you out because you are just incredibly versatile and committed. Great technique and intensity in every single step and gesture, simply excuisite. An actress in both body and soul and what legs you've had! ..I'll really miss those legs... and feet... and back ...and arms... and eyes. Wish I had a ticket for tonight. All the best.

  2. Congratulations Leanne. Your Picture is on the front page of your local Rockhampton "Morning Bulletin" - in Australia- plus many more pictures and a great write up inside.
    All well deserved.

  3. Corrine Grimes responded on 15 June 2013 at 11:42am Reply

    A world-class dancer who is also kind and approachable. Congratulations on a phenomenal contribution to the world of dance. The loud cheer tonight from the front of the stalls circle will be us! Corrine and Charlie

  4. Carlos Visintin responded on 15 June 2013 at 2:21pm Reply

    Congratulations, Miss Benjamin!
    I've seen you in Brazil, in the Rio De janeiro City theater, in 2013. You've danced the Requiem of Faurè and Qualia. It was perfect! You are a perfect dancer!
    Thank you for your dancing, for everything!
    And thank you for coming to Brazil!

  5. I have followed your career for years!!! I wish you a happy retirement from the Royal Ballet and you will be missed I am sure!! Beautiful Ballerina!!!!

  6. seejaybe43 responded on 15 June 2013 at 4:17pm Reply

    I have to admit that I was initially rather a slow-burning fan of your talent...but the past decade or so has made me fully appreciate your great artistry, versatilty and vivacity and the astonishing dedication you have brought to every role.
    Every good wish for tonight and to a fulfilling future career, wherever it may take you, Leanne.

  7. Gianmarco responded on 15 June 2013 at 5:09pm Reply have been a truely impressive artist in all these years! Thank you so much for your most convincing art of ballet! You deserve your top-ranked position in dance!

  8. Sarah responded on 15 June 2013 at 6:37pm Reply

    Thank you Leanne for all the pleasure you have given your followers throughout your stellar career at the Royal Ballet. Versatile, dynamic, dramatic and lyrical-you are unique. All good wishes for your future you will be missed.

  9. Karen responded on 15 June 2013 at 7:02pm Reply

    Congratulations on a wonderful career and all the best for tonight and your future which I'm sure will be equally successful.
    As an aside (and I imagine this happens a lot) I was in a backstage tour group when we encountered you at one of the lifts by an exercise studio and you stopped to chat. You could not have been more friendly, unaffected and unpretentious. A true ambassador for the RB and the art. You will be missed.

  10. DOS responded on 15 June 2013 at 8:22pm Reply

    I don't get much chance to go to Covent Garden, but your performance in the Judas Tree a few years ago, which I was privileged to see, was incredibly memorable - frightening, enlightening and reaffirming - so all the best for whatever lies ahead.

  11. Cristina responded on 16 June 2013 at 1:04am Reply

    I've just came back home from watching Leanne's farewell performance. It was absolutely spectacular! She and Carlos Acosta exceed all expectations. Words fail me to describe such brilliance. I was on the second row of the Orchesta Stalls which made even more the memorable; I could hear them breath! It was wonderful and a privilege to have been part of the audience.

  12. Norma Malcolm responded on 16 June 2013 at 4:04pm Reply

    I was there last night for the final performance of Mayerling. Congratulations! I know the story, from the Omar Sharif/Catherine De Neuve romantic variation, and the Charles Boyer classic, through to the glorious BBC2 Fall of Eagles Series, so this MacMillan interpretation was always going to be interesting, but no matter how well he conceived it (and he did capture the historical accuracy so well..), nothing can be claimed ahead of your outstanding performance last night. Beauty, grace, physical excellence in line and emotion and all the experience you bring from your wonderful career. It was a joy to watch and a privilege to be part of your final performance. I wish you happiness for the future, whatever you may chose to do. Your interpretation brought great art closer to many people and I thank you for it. I wish you every success in the future and will remember 15th June as a very special day in my cultural life. Thank you.

  13. Sarah Price responded on 16 June 2013 at 6:31pm Reply

    I was lucky enough to be at the last night of Mayerling. It was simply wonderful. The chemistry between Leanne Benjamin and Carlos Acosta was so powerful, one could taste it. Thank you for such a wonderful performance. It will be a long time before I see such beautiful, expressive dancing again.

  14. Richard responded on 17 June 2013 at 11:03am Reply

    Was lucky enough to be at ROH for Leanne's final performance. Breathtaking, simply breathtaking. First time we have seen Leanne dance and realise just what we have been missing all these years.

  15. Catherine Tait responded on 17 June 2013 at 11:42am Reply

    Leanne, I was privileged to see your farewell performance with Carlos Acosta on 15th June. I can only say it was breath-taking, and deeply moving, and I know that everyone around me felt the same. May I wish you very best wishes for your future, you will be sorely missed. Catherine Tait

  16. Liz Tebbutt responded on 17 June 2013 at 12:10pm Reply

    I was so pleased to attend Leanne's final performance with the Royal Ballet on Saturday evening. I have always found her dancing and interpretation quite extraordinary, but her performance with Carlos in Mayerling on Saturday evening was so special, it was pure magic! What a way to bow out of her career with the Royal Ballet! Leanne, together with Alina, Johan and Mara will be sorely missed as, not only are they beautiful dancers but it's their interpretation of the roles they dance that is so wonderful. Good luck, Leanne, in whatever you choose to do in the future and thank you for such wonderful performances over the past few years.

  17. Eileen Martin responded on 17 June 2013 at 2:06pm Reply

    I saw Leanne Benjamin dance Giselle about 11 years ago. It brought me back to the Opera House after a few years absence, and I have been a regular visitor ever since, my commitment and enthusiasm growing from season to season. My grateful thanks to her for a huge enrichment to my life and my best wishes for every future success and happiness. Eileen

  18. Mrs Maggie Birkett responded on 17 June 2013 at 9:52pm Reply

    I felt greatly privileged to see Leanne's farewell performance in Mayerling on Saturday 15th June - it was wonderful to see her so relaxed and beaming after the final curtain. The presentation of flowers by her young son was so very touching to see. My husband commented " Why is she retiring - she is marvellous"!! It was a truly magnificent performance. Later in Covent Garden we drank a toast to your future health & happiness, with a bottle of Australian Shiraz !!! Best Wishes. Maggie B

  19. Sheila Cross responded on 18 June 2013 at 10:28am Reply

    An amazing final performance, passionate yet nuanced and deeply moving. She has always been such a versatile and committed dancer, wonderful technique, powerful presence. I have strong memories of her performances with Sadler's Wells Royal ballet, including in Bintley's Kafka ballet, as the sister, and above all in Giselle, with a dramatic Mad Scene, powered by frantic dancing. With the Royal, her dancing in contemporary works has clearly inspired their choreographers and her MacMillan performances have been revelatory.

  20. jenny Lang responded on 18 June 2013 at 4:45pm Reply

    Thank you Leanne for you're performances and all the best, we will miss you-Jenny

  21. Michael Ellins responded on 13 July 2013 at 9:53pm Reply

    I fell for you when I first saw "Firebird" was absolutely enthralled with "Coppelia". I am now devastated tohear of your retirement. Good luck in the future from Chattanooga Tennessee USA.

  22. We are launching new awards for young Australian dancers at The Royal Ballet School to be known as The Leanne Benjamin Awards. Leanne will teach an RBS student one of her famous solos in the Linden Studio at The Royal Ballet School. Thursday 12th June 6.30pm

This article has 1 mention elsewhere

  1. Focus On Leanne Benjamin – Dance Direct Blog | Tait Memorial Trust:  […] so many promising young Australian dancers have completed their training. We are thrilled that Leanne Benjamin OBE,an alumna of The Royal Ballet School who recently retired as a principal dancer with The Royal […]

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