Leigh Warren trained at the Australian Ballet School and later graduated to the Australian Ballet. In his final year with the ballet company he was awarded the first Churchill Scholarship for the Performing Arts, which he completed at the Juilliard School of Music, New York.
Following a distinguished performing career with the Australian Ballet, Ballet Rambert, Nureyev & Friends and Nederlands Dans Theater, Warren was appointed Artistic Director of Australian Dance Theatre in 1987 - where he created fourteen works and toured the company within Australia and overseas. He then went on to launch his own company LWD in 1993, producing many original dance works, collaborating with distinguished choreographers and with many seminal Australian visual artists and musicians.
Warren and his company have received numerous awards, including the inaugural Adelaide Critics Circle award, four Australian Dance Awards, the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award and four Green Room Awards.
ABC TV has filmed a number of Warren's works and in 2000 Warren was choreographic adviser for Spectre de la Rose in Paul Cox's film The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky.
The 2001 Melbourne Festival commissioned Warren to produce a work in co-operation with William Forsythe, Artistic Director of Frankfurt Ballet. The resulting work, Quick Brown Fox, toured in Australia and overseas.
From 2002-2007 Warren directed the entire trilogy of Philip Glass 'portrait operas' (Akhnaten, Satyagraha, Einstein on the Beach Parts) - a world first. Warren won the Adelaide Critics' Circle 2004 Individual Award for his direction and choreography of Einstein on the Beach and the following year won another Adelaide Critics' Circle Award, this time for Innovation for 2005's Petroglyphs - Signs of Life, choreographed with Gina Rings.
2009 saw the company invited to perform Impulse at the Holland Dance Festival, marking the 50th anniversary of the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT), of which Warren was a member for five years.
Stepping away from the stage, the company undertook a project Medico Manoeuvres with the Flinders Medical Centre in 2009. LWD presented a series of choreographed performances throughout the wards of the Medical Centre, exploring the concept of diversional therapy. The project received an AbaF Arts & Health Foundation Award.
Collaborating with Paris based Australian contemporary choreographer Prue Lang, Warren produced Frame & Circle program, for the 2010 Adelaide Festival. Later that year Leigh Warren & Dancers and State Opera of South Australia premiered a co-production of Astor Piazzolla's 'tango operita' Maria de Buenos Aires. Directed and choreographed by Warren it received an Adelaide Critics' Circle Group Award and was recently restaged for the 2011 Brisbane Festival.
2011 proved to be a festival year with the company performing new works Breathe - at WOMADelaide - choreographed by Frances Rings and featuring music by William Barton - followed by Dreamscape for the OzAsia Festival. Through Dreamscape Warren resumed his collaborative relationship with contemporary Japanese dancer and choreographer Kaiji Moriyama and invited world renowned pianist Simon Tedeschi to perform the score.
Outside of his work with LWD, Warren is regularly invited to teach at dance institutions and conduct workshops around Australia and overseas, with his unique approach to training widely recognised for nurturing talented young dancers into polished professionals. In 2007 he was presented with a prestigious Ruby Award by the South Australian Government for Sustained Contribution by an Individual.
In 2010 he directed and choreographed the Astor Piazzolla opera Maria de Buenos Aires in a LWD/State Opera of South Australia co-production, which won the 2010 Adelaide Critics’ Circle Group Award and was presented at the 2011 Brisbane Festival and with the Victorian Opera in 2013.
His most recent dance creation, Not According to Plan, premiered at the 2013 OzAsia Festival and has been nominated Best New Workin the 2014 Dance Australia Awards.
In 2014 Leigh directed and choreographed the Philip Glass Opera Trilogy for the State Opera of South Australia.
In 2016 Leigh was awarded a star on Adelaide Festival Centre’s Walk of Fame.