The Royal Opera House

Leanne Benjamin: Built for Ballet Book


This autobiography by Leanne Benjamin with Sarah Crompton reveals the extraordinary life and career of one of the world's most important ballet dancers of the past fifty years. The book 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’s a book for ballet-lovers which will explain from Benjamin’s personal point of view, how ballet has changed and is changing. It’s 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. But it’s also a book 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. It’s a story full of big names and big personalities — Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev, 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 it is also a book of 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’s like to fall over in front of thousands of people and what it’s like to triumph. Above all, it 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.

Format: Hardback
Pages: 400
Illustrations: 32 page colour 
ISBN: 9781925556575
Publication Date: 01-Nov-2021