Jump to content

PRESS RELEASE: LEANNE BENJAMIN TO RETIRE AFTER 20 YEARS AS A PRINCIPAL DANCER WITH THE ROYAL BALLET


Recommended Posts

LEANNE BENJAMIN TO RETIRE AFTER 20 YEARS AS A PRINCIPAL DANCER WITH THE ROYAL BALLET

 

After an outstanding 21 years dancing with The Royal Ballet, Principal Dancer Leanne Benjamin has announced her intention to retire in July 2013, at the end of the current season.  Her last performance will be in Tokyo on 10 July in A Gala Evening with The Royal Ballet at the Bunka Kaikan, Tokyo. as part of The Royal Ballet’s summer tour. Leanne’s final performance at The Royal
Opera House will be as Mary Vetsera in the season finale of Mayerling on 15 June.


Leanne Benjamin came from Australia to join The Royal Ballet Upper School at the age of sixteen. In 1980 she won the Adeline Genee Gold Medal and in 1981 the Prix de Lausanne. At her graduation performance she danced the role of Giselle at The Royal Opera House partnered by Jonathan Cope as Albrecht. Leanne began what was to become a remarkable career at Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet in 1983 where she was promoted to Principal in 1987.  

 

In 1988 Leanne joined London Festival Ballet as a Principal, and in 1990 she joined Deutche Oper Ballet in Berlin both under the Directorship of Peter Schaufuss. It was during her time at Deutche Oper Ballet that Leanne worked with Kenneth MacMillan on Different Drummer.


Leanne joined The Royal Ballet as a First Soloist under Anthony Dowell in 1992 and made her debut with the Company in MacMilllan’s Mayerling as Mary Vestera. She was promoted to Principal in 1993. HHHer career has seen her dance all the leading classical roles as well as having an exceptional number of roles  created on her by choreographers including Wayne McGregor, Christopher Wheeldon, Ashley Page, Liam Scarlett, Alastair Marriott, Glen Tetley, Twyla Tharp, David Bintley, Kim Brandstrup, Michael Corder and most recently Alexei Ratmansky.  Excelling in the MacMillan repertory Leanne also worked with Frederick Ashton and Ninette De Valois, one of the last line of dancers to have first hand experience of working with the founders of The Royal Ballet. 


Leanne was awarded an OBE in 2005 for Services to Dance and her career with The Royal Ballet alone has spanned more than two decades. She has danced under four of the Company’s eight directors and has appeared at many of the mile stone performances in the Company’s history. Leanne leaves the Company having created an indelible impression amongst the ranks of its Principal Dancers.

 

Leanne Benjamin comments “I am incredibly fortunate to have had such a long and exciting life as a ballerina, and I feel, with Mayerling at the end of the season, there would be no better way for me to draw my career as a dancer at the Opera House to a close. I realise how blessed I am to have had such a unique and expansive career, spanning many companies and working with a multitude of extra-ordinary people. I owe a great debt of gratitude to so many people who nurtured me in the early part of my career and, of course, having made The Royal Ballet my home for the last 20 years, I want to thank everyone there who has worked tirelessly to support me personally and professionally. I will always remain grateful and thankful for the opportunities I have enjoyed as a result of that support.”

 

KevinO’Hare Director of The Royal Ballet adds “Leanne has been such a huge part of The Royal Ballet for the last 21 years it is hard to imagine the Company without her. But, I am sure the memory of her unique and very special talent will remain with us through the many roles she created during her long career. Leanne will be much missed and we wish her well with all her future plans.”



 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's why I bought a ticket to Mayerling on June 15th....I had a feeling it would be her final London performance!  Leanne is an amazing dancer and still looks like a 25 year-old out on that stage.  I will never forget her marvelous performances in the MacMillan ballets, which is where she particularly excelled.  Best wishes to her in her future endeavours.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's why I bought a ticket to Mayerling on June 15th....I had a feeling it would be her final London performance! Leanne is an amazing dancer and still looks like a 25 year-old out on that stage. I will never forget her marvelous performances in the MacMillan ballets, which is where she particularly excelled. Best wishes to her in her future endeavours.

Exactly, it had Leanne's retirement written all over it. She will be sorely missed in everything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A sad day - Leanne has been an RB shining light for almost all my life as a ballet fan and it's hard to accept that she will no more be an eagerly looked-forward to  name on cast-sheets.  Significant too that she is  the last of the company's remaining dancer links with both Ashton and de Valois, links which I'm sure will feature prominently in the book which- hopefully - she'll write!

 

I wish her much success and happiness in the future.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's why I bought a ticket to Mayerling on June 15th....I had a feeling it would be her final London performance!  Leanne is an amazing dancer and still looks like a 25 year-old out on that stage. 

 

Or even younger, as Juliet :)  Like you, Sim, I took one look at that last-night casting and thought uh-oh - and nearly said as much when Galeazzi's retirement was announced, but I was hoping I was wrong.  I hadn't realised she'd started her RB career with Vetsera as well, so that does make nice "bookends".  So, two retirements in three days - and in less than a year the RB loses arguably its three finest MacMillan ballerinas.  *That* is going to take some time to recover from - if at all.  And Ed Watson loses his two most regular partners, which I suspect will also be tough.

 

Anyway, I wish Leanne all the best in the future, whatever she decides to do.  I hope it will include coaching the MacMillan rep, at least - she's one of only a few dancers in the company who worked with him at all, and her input would be invaluable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

As the 15th June gets ever nearer, perhaps some of you would like to contribute to a flower throw.

 

Simon, a regular no doubt known to many, is collecting money for the occasion.  If anyone is willing to donate send me a private message and I will put you in touch with Simon.

 

many thanks

 

MB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

A slightly belated tribute from Clement Crisp in his review of Carlos Acosta's Classical Selection:

 

"I do not believe her years as reported in reference books – she was clearly lying from the age of three to impress the lads in her kindergarten – and her speed, lightness, unerring grace of means are impeccable as she dances at the heart of these fragments, as Mary Vetsera, as an ecstatic Manon, as the child-like figure in Requiem."  I can't quote the whole thing because of forum quoting rules, but the rest is here: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/af8daf98-fa96-11e2-87b9-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2ap0ShOaL

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...