Leanne Benjamin brings Alison McWhinney home to Queensland Ballet

Alison McWhinney. Photo courtesy of Queensland Ballet.
Alison McWhinney. Photo courtesy of Queensland Ballet.

In her first addition to the Company since taking the helm as Artistic Director of Queensland Ballet, Leanne Benjamin has announced the homecoming of Aussie-born dancer Alison McWhinney. 

Hailing from Port Macquarie, McWhinney has carved out a distinguished career in the UK with the prestigious English National Ballet. Since 2005, McWhinney has flourished within the company, ascending to the esteemed position of First Soloist in 2017. 

Her repertoire boasts a range of iconic roles, including Juliet in Rudolf Nureyev’s Romeo and Juliet, Myrtha and Giselle in Mary Skeaping’s Giselle, and the coveted title role in Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon. More recently, McWhinney appeared as Stepsister Edwina and the title role of Cinderella in Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella. 

“Alison is a remarkable talent, and I am thrilled to welcome her back to her Aussie roots,” said Benjamin. “Her extensive experience and artistry will undoubtedly enrich our Company and delight Queensland Ballet audiences.”

Speaking of her impending return to Australia after a successful career abroad, McWhinney said she was thrilled to be coming home to continue her career at Queensland Ballet. 

“I am so thrilled to be coming home to continue my career at QB,” she said. “It is such a vibrant company with beautiful people, and I can’t wait to be part of this exciting new chapter with Leanne as director.”

Set to return to her homeland, she commences her journey with Queensland Ballet as a Senior Soloist from late July.  

Brisbane audiences can look out for her first on-stage performance in Coco Chanel: the Life of a Fashion Icon in October. 

Benjamin has also promoted Luke DiMattina, effective immediately to First Company Artist. DiMattina was born in Melbourne and began dancing at the age of four. At the age of 12, he began training full time at the Victorian Collage of the Arts Secondary School. After graduating in 2017, he moved to Brisbane and joined Queensland Ballet Academy’s Pre-Professional Program. In 2018, DiMattina became a Jette Parker Young Artist and was promoted to Company Artist in 2019. Repertoire highlights include Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet, Liam Scarlett’s The Firebird and Dangerous Liaisons, and Jirí Kylián’s Soldiers Mass

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