"Built for Ballet" - with Leanne Benjamin (IN PERSON TICKET)

"Built for Ballet" - with Leanne Benjamin (IN PERSON TICKET)

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Kensington Central Library

12 Phillimore Walk


W8 7RX

United Kingdom

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Join us IN PERSON for this fascinating story of the extraordinary life and career of one of the most important ballet dancers of recent time

About this event

Leanne Benjamin's recent autobiography, Built for Ballet, takes you behind the scenes to find a real understanding of the pleasure and the pain, the demands and the intense commitment it requires to become a ballet dancer. It is a book for ballet-lovers which will explain from Benjamin’s personal point of view, how ballet has changed and is changing.

In this interview with dance critic Graham Watts, Leanne will tell us about it as a book of history: she was first taught by the people who created ballet in its modern form and now she works with the dancers of today, handing on all she has known and learnt.

Her book is also for people who are just interested in the psychology of achievement, how you go from being a child in small-town Rockhampton in the centre of Australia to being a power on the world’s biggest stages - and how an individual copes with the ups and downs of that kind of career.

*There will be an opportunity to buy the book and have it signed by the author in a book-signing session after the talk.

"Built for Ballet" - with Leanne Benjamin (IN PERSON TICKET) image

Leanne's is a story full of big names and big personalities -- Margot Fonteyn, Kenneth MacMillan, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Darcey Bussell, Carlos Acosta to name a few. President Clinton, Michelle Obama, Diana Princess of Wales and David Beckham all make an appearance.

But there are also small moments of insight: what makes a performance special, how you recover from injury, illness and childbirth; how you combine athletic and artistic prowess with motherhood, how a different partner can alter everything, what it is like to fall over in front of thousands of people and what it is like to triumph.

Above all, in this book Leanne seeks to explain, in warm and human terms, why women get the reputation for being difficult in a world where being a good girl is too much prized. And what they can do about it.

"Built for Ballet" - with Leanne Benjamin (IN PERSON TICKET) image

About the Speaker:

Leanne Benjamin, OBE, AM, is a highly acclaimed and award- winning dancer, who was a principal ballerina with Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Deutsche Oper Berlin and ultimately a principal for 20 years with the Royal Ballet.

Born in Queensland, Australia, she started her professional ballet career at the age of 18 and retired from the stage at the age of 49, after a world-class career.

She now devotes herself to coaching for major ballet productions around the world for companies including the Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, the Australian Ballet and Queensland Ballet.

She is Vice Chair of the Board of Governors for the Royal Ballet Companies, and patron of the Tait Memorial Trust. She is also much in demand as an international judge and motivational guest speaker.

About the interviewer:

Graham Watts is a freelance dance writer and critic writing regularly for Dancing Times, Shinshokan Dance magazine (Japan), Ballet Magazine (Romania), The Spectator, Bachtrack.com and DanceTabs.com. He has written the biography of Daria Klimentová (The Agony and the Ecstasy) and contributed chapters about the work of Akram Khan to the Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Ballet and on Shobana Jeyasingh for the third edition of Routledge’s Fifty Contemporary Choreographers. He is Chairman of the Dance Section of The Critics’ Circle and of the UK National Dance Awards and regularly lectures on dance writing and criticism at The Royal Academy of Dance and The Place. He was nominated for the Dance Writing Award in the 2018 One Dance UK Awards and was appointed OBE in 2008.

"Built for Ballet" - with Leanne Benjamin (IN PERSON TICKET) image

About the co-author:

Sarah Crompton is one of Britain’s most respected writers and broadcasters, commentating on all aspects of culture and the arts. Her work appears in the Guardian, the Sunday Times, The Times, the Observer, British and American Vogue among others.

She reviews dance for the Observer and theatre for WhatsOnStage. She is a regular contributor to the BBC’s Front Row. She was previously the Arts Editor in Chief and dance critic of the Daily Telegraph. Her first book was Sadler’s Wells: Dance House, a study of the recent creative history of Sadler’s Wells.


Please note this event will be presented both in person, in Kensington Central Library lecture hall. If you cannot join us on the night, you can book an online ticket which will be in the form of a recording sent after the event.

Registering on this listing will give you a ticket to join us IN PERSON.

If you would like to book a ticket to receive the recording afterwards, please click HERE.

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