Leanne benjamin with upper school students

Congratulations to alumna Leanne Benjamin AM OBE, Queensland Ballet’s newest Artistic Director

Congratulations to Leanne Benjamin AM OBE on her appointment as Artistic Director of Queensland Ballet, one of Australia’s leading classical ballet companies. In 2024, Leanne will take over from the celebrated Li Cunxin AO as the first female Artistic Director of the Company.

Leanne was born in Rockhampton, Australia, before joining The Royal Ballet School at the age of 16. After graduating, she started her career with Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, later becoming a Principal dancer, before joining English National Ballet and Deutsche Opera Ballet. In 1992, Leanne joined The Royal Ballet as a Principal dancer and performed with the Company for a triumphant 21 years. After retiring in 2013, Leanne continued her involvement in the art form, coaching dancers in some of the world’s leading companies, including The Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and The Australian Ballet.

Leanne also sits as Vice Chair on the board of Governors of The Royal Ballet Companies, overseeing The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and The Royal Ballet School. Leanne visited the School’s White Lodge students in May this year, delivering an inspiring Creative Artist Talk on her successful ballet career and life post-performing.

On her appointment, Leanne said:

I couldn’t be more excited to be returning home to Queensland – as Queensland Ballet’s sixth Artistic Director. It’s an incredible honour.  

Ballet has been part of my life since I was a three-year old in Rockhampton. If you had told that wide-eyed girl that she would go on to have a vibrant career as a ballerina for 30 years, 20 of which would be as a Principal with The Royal Ballet and then return home as Artistic Director to a world-class company in Queensland, I’m not sure she would have believed it.

Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, congratulated Leanne:

Leanne has been an extraordinary force of the British ballet scene, lauded first as a ballerina and then as a coach and passionate advocate for dance.

Her roles on stage serve as a history lesson in the ballets that define The Royal Ballet, from the great 19th-century classics like Giselle and The Sleeping Beauty, to Frederick Ashton works such as The Dream and the dramatic masterpieces by Kenneth MacMillan including Manon and Mayerling, through to ballets created with today’s leading choreographers Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon.

The Royal Ballet School wishes Leanne every success with Queensland Ballet.