Remembering Sydney Leonard

It is with great sadness that we share that Boston Ballet's beloved Sydney Leonard, who was instrumental in the founding of the School and Company, passed away on Jan 2 at the age of 100.

Photo courtesy of the Boston Ballet Archives

Miss Sydney Leonard passed away on January 2, 2020 at the age of 100. From the early 1950’s on, she worked with Boston Ballet Founder E. Virginia Williams as the devoted co-founder of Boston Ballet School and an indispensable professional associate.  Miss Leonard was a revered teacher who trained thousands of students in the course of more than four decades in the studio. After retiring in 2006, she received the Boston Ballet School Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. 

In 2007, Miss Leonard reflected on her time at BBS:

 “For a group such as ours, constant vigilance is vital to maintain our very high standards as well as to move forward in an ever-evolving atmosphere. This applies not only to the Company, but to the School. Education and teaching at the student level can make all the difference between mediocrity and excellence. To do justice to our students only the best will do. Realistically, this comes at a price. A highly competent faculty is necessary. Happily, we can already lay claim to that. Another element is the availability of scholarships. These make it possible for a talented student to participate in all activities without the financial burden. We must do everything possible to perpetuate and nourish all of these ancillary elements to keep Boston Ballet School thriving. My journey from the start to the present has been a labor of love as well as a very rewarding experience. So let us salute everyone involved and pledge our support of a very important member of the artistic life of Boston and the world.”

Since 2007, the Sydney Leonard Scholarship has been awarded annually to a student who exhibits exceptional talent and promise. (Boston Ballet Principal Dancer Patrick Yocum received this award in 2009, during his years of BBS training.)  To celebrate Miss Leonard’s life and matchless legacy, please consider a contribution to the Sydney Leonard Scholarship. Please donate and enter her name in the “gifts in tribute” section.

Rest in peace, Miss Leonard.

We celebrate diversity while fostering a team spirit.

Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director