Lesley Collier was born in Orpington, Kent, England in 1947. She studied with the Royal Ballet School. She graduated in 1965 and joined the Royal Ballet where she was promoted to principal in 1972. She was a dancer of rare musicality and was called the queen of variations. She danced the leading ballerina roles in La Fille Mal Gardée, Anastasia, MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Giselle and Sleeping Beauty. She retired in 1995 and took up teaching at the Royal Ballet School.