Not since the exquisite Elaine Fifield in the middle of the last century has an Australian ballerina risen as high in the exalted ranks of the Royal Ballet as Leanne Benjamin. So Queensland is naturally bursting with pride in its home-grown girl who, since her retirement from the stage in 2013, has been showered with honours, the latest being the inaugural Queensland Agent-General Award  “for Queenslanders who have excelled in their chosen field and significantly contributed to Queensland – United Kingdom relations”.

Left to right: Courtney Cleary, Calvin Richardson, His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, Leanne Benjamin AM OBE (with flowers), Alexandra Oomens, Kaye de Jersey, Romany Pajdak. Photograph © Marek Sikora Photography

On November 20, a recital was given in her name, hosted by Queensland Agent-General Linda Apelt, in association with the Tait Memorial Trust, with guests of honour Paul de Jersey, the Governor of Queensland and his wife, and George Brandis, Australian High Commissioner. Under the gleaming chandeliers at Australia House, Benjamin’s post-performing gifts for producing and directing were very much on display before a warm and excited audience of Queensland guests and devoted followers...

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