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

Sydney Leonard worked tirelessly from the early 1950s and onward with Boston Ballet Founder E. Virginia Williams as professional associate and devoted co-founder of Boston Ballet School. Miss Leonard was a revered teacher who trained thousands of students in the course of more than four decades in the studio. She retired from the School in 2006 and in 2014 received the Boston Ballet School Lifetime Achievement Award. Miss Leonard passed away in 2020 at the age of 100.

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

 “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 top student who exhibits exceptional talent and promise. In 2009, Boston Ballet Principal Dancer Patrick Yocum received the award. To contribute to the Sydney Leonard Scholarship in celebration of her legacy, 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