Leanne Benjamin

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Leanne Benjamin

Leanne Benjamin Danse à grande vitesse.jpg
Leanne Benjamin (left) curtain call for Danse à grande vitesse, Royal Ballet
Leanne Faye Benjamin

(1964-07-13) 13 July 1964 (age 55)
OccupationBallet dancer
Children1 son

Leanne Faye Benjamin AM OBE (born 13 July 1964)[1] is a retired Australian ballet dancer who was a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet in London.

Early life[edit]

Benjamin was born in Rockhampton, Queensland, to Jill and Bernie Benjamin.[2]

Ballet career[edit]

Benjamin began ballet lessons at age four at the Jan Moore School of Dance in Rockhampton. Later, she and her sister trained with Valeria Hansen. In 1980, she was accepted into the Royal Ballet School at age 16. Within a year, she won two prestigious awards, the Adeline Genée Gold Medal and Prix de Lausanne.

She joined the Company in 1992, becoming a Principal by the spring of that season. She was also a Principal with Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and Deutsche Opera Ballet and danced with Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company at New York City Center in 2008.[3] She retired from the Royal Ballet in July 2013 after 21 years with the company.[4]

In 2004 and 2009 she won the National Dance Award for Best Female Dancer.[5][6]


Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Giselle, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Nikiya, Kitri, Swanilda, The Firebird, Cinderella, Lise, Titania, Manon, Anastasia, Juliet (Ashton and MacMillan), Mitzi Caspar and Mary Vetsera in Mayerling, Irina, The Girl in The Invitation, The Judas Tree, Song of the Earth, Gloria, Requiem, Rhapsody, Elite Syncopations, Les Biches, Symphony in C, Apollo, Danses Concertantes, Etudes, Brünnhilde in Béjart's Ring, Carmen, Forsythe's Herman Schmerman and Ashton's The Leaves Are Fading, Swanilda in Coppélia.

She has created roles in Bintley's Metamorphosis, The Snow Queen and Earth as part of Homage to The Queen, Bruce's Symphony in Three Movements and in Mr. Worldly Wise, Two-Part Invention, When We Stop Talking, Masquerade and most recently Wayne McGregor's Qualia, "Infra", and "Limen", Robert Garland's Spring Rites, Alastair Marriott's Tanglewood, Liam Scarlett's Despite and Wheeldon's DGV.

Post-ballet career[edit]

In honour of her career with The Royal Ballet, the Leanne Benjamin Awards, were launched at a public masterclass at The Royal Ballet School on 12 June 2014. The awards were created and will be administered by The Tait Memorial Trust, of which Leanne Benjamin is a Patron[7].

The awards are scholarships for young Australian & New Zealand ballet dancers studying in the UK.[8] In January 2014, Leanne Benjamin was awarded the Critics’ Circle de Valois award for outstanding achievement.[9]

Personal life[edit]

She is married and has a son, born in 2003.


At the 2005 British New Years Honours, Benjamin was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her services to dance.[10] Ten years later at the 2015 Australia Day Honours, Benjamin was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the performing arts, particularly ballet, as a dancer and role model.[11]


  1. ^ "theartsdesk Q&A: Ballerina Leanne Benjamin". The Arts Desk. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Rockhampton ballerina recognised as of the greatest ever". The Morning Bulletin. 19 January 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  3. ^ "In Company's Second Season: Chaos, Order and 'What Happens Next?'". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  4. ^ Shipman, Chris. "Leanne Benjamin to retire". Royal Opera House. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  5. ^ "National Dance Awards Critics' Circle". Nationaldanceawards.com. 20 January 2005. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  6. ^ "2009 National Dance Awards Critics' Circle". Nationaldanceawards.com. 21 January 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  7. ^ http://taitmemorialtrust.org/tait-patrons/
  8. ^ "The Leanne Benjamin Awards 2015". Taitmemorialtrust.org. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Christopher Wheeldon, Natalia Osipova and Leanne Benjamin win at National Dance Awards". NetworkDance.com. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  10. ^ "No. 57509". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2004. p. 9.
  11. ^ "Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division" (PDF). Official Secretary to the Governor-General of Australia. 26 January 2015. p. 5. Retrieved 27 January 2015.

External links[edit]