Stéphane Léonard first tread the halls of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet as a Company Soloist in 1998. His dynamic performances earned him coveted roles such as Tybalt (Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo & Juliet), and Hilarion and Peasant Pas de Quatre (Sir Peter Wright’s Giselle). During a successful career he performed solo roles in various neo-classical and contemporary repertoire by choreographers such as George Balanchine, John Cranko, and James Kudelka. He also had the great honour of being selected to work with Sir Anthony Dowell on The Dream by Sir Frederick Ashton and with the great Jerome Robbins on The Concert.
Mr. Léonard began his early training in Montréal under the tutelage and mentorship of Ms Natasha Izbinsky and continued his studies at the prestigious Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. Following his graduation in 1992, Mr. Léonard made his professional debut with the National Ballet of Canada under the direction of Reid Anderson. In 1995, Mr. Léonard joined the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory Ballet and Opera under the direction of Nikita Dolgushin and performed principal roles such as Prince Désiré (The Sleeping Beauty), The Poet (Les Sylphides) and Nutcracker Prince (Nutcracker) . In 1998, Mr. Léonard returned to Canada to join the RWB Company. Upon his retirement in 2002, he assumed the position of RWB School Aspirant Program Director and in 2016 began his esteemed role as School Director.
A skilled choreographer, Mr. Léonard has seen many of his works staged by the RWB School including his personal favourites: Les Corsaires, La Fille mal gardée, and Pinocchio, all of which were performed at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. In addition to his work with the RWB, Mr. Léonard’s professional credits include: The Making of a Dancer Docu-Drama by National Film Board of Canada & Lenfilm Studio Russia 1992, Arthur Holmwood in Guy Maddin’s Dracula – Pages from a Virgin’s Diary, and the choreography of the dance scene in Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg. He also staged Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo & Juliet with National Greek Ballet and Opera (2002) and Boston Ballet (2003).
In addition to his professional credits and teaching duties with the RWB School, Mr. Léonard frequently guest teaches, attends competitions and adjudicates in Canada and abroad. He has taught at the Banff Centre for the Arts’ Professional Summer Program, The National Ballet School of Canada, the Okanagan Summer Dance Festival, the Canadian School of Ballet, Quinte Ballet School, Ballet Victoria, Edmonton School of Ballet and Ecuentro-El Salvador Ballet School. Mr. Léonard brings a deep creativity and imagination to his teaching and mentorship gained from years of learning from inspiring mentors such as Arnold Sphor and David Moroni. Apart from his role as teacher and mentor, he enjoys carpentry, prop making, kayaking and spending time with his wife, fellow RWB Company alumnus and Ballet Master, Vanessa Léonard, and their young daughter.