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Sydney Leonard

Sydney Leonard

September 29th, 1919 January 2nd, 2020

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Obituary

Obituary for Sydney Eva Leonard

LEONARD -- Sydney Eva, a founder of the Boston Ballet School and the Boston Ballet Company died January 2, 2020, at her home in Cambridge, MA. She was 100.
Miss Leonard was born September 29, 1919, in Quincy, MA. She began studying dance at five, maintaining her passion through the Great Depression. After high school, practicalities sent her to secretarial school and a job at The Atlantic Monthly magazine. She began as a subscription clerk and rose to the position of Circulation Manager before retirement. When her beloved teacher and mentor, Madam Maria Paparello retired in 1951, Sydney sustained the mission of Madam Paparello’s school through a cooperative relationship with the Boston Conservatory of Music. Some years later E. Virginia Williams recruited Miss Leonard to teach in her Malden, MA school. Their collaboration led to the establishment of the Boston Ballet School and, later, the Company. Miss Leonard worked in all aspects of the Company. She was responsible for choreography and training of literally hundreds of children for performances including the annual Nutcracker. She taught class into her late 80s. Miss Leonard is survived by her sister in law Ethel E. Leonard; a nephew, J. Peter Leonard; his wife, Lorraine M. DiSimone; a niece, Ellen J. Leonard, innumerable former students, dancers, friends and associates. Her parents and brother predeceased her. After retirement, the Boston Ballet School established a scholarship in her name. Memorial gifts may be directed to the Sydney E. Leonard Scholarship Fund of the Boston Ballet School, 19 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA 02116. A celebration of Miss Leonard’s life will be held in Boston in the spring.

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Rebecca Rice

Dear Ellen and family ~ et al: I was so blessed to become a friend of Sydney's. We both had a love and devotion to choreography, and as I worked at the BB School and with BBII. she was always there with a loving, supportive comment and a twinkle in her eye. I heard from her a few days ago, and I am so thankful for that communication. A strong, brilliant and devoted teacher as well as a truly special choreographer, I feel blessed to have known and worked with her. Much love to her family during this time. She was, and is, such a QUEEN.
Comment | Posted at 11:25am via Condolence
DS

Deborah L. Stanton-Bianca

Rest In Peace Miss Leonard. You will be missed.

She was the Steel Magnolia that taught us ballet faithfully everyday. A fixture at Boston Ballet, she personified grit, duty and determination. Grace, and poise were standard equipment. The world will be a little less elegant without her. We dance a little reverance for this dear lady.
Comment | Posted at 12:12am via Condolence

E Hausmann

Ms. Leonard holds a solid place in history for her innovation and dedication to the education provided through the Boston Ballet School. "Her beautiful classes, instruction, choreography for the Boston Ballet, and to her students in the school . . . and helped E. Virginia to form and build the company." (Jean Barrozo D'Urbano.) E. Laura Hausmann
Comment | Posted at 06:17pm via Condolence
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