(b Vancouver, 5 Apr. 1946)
Canadian-British dancer. She studied with Gweneth Lloyd and Betty Farrally in British Columbia and at the Royal Ballet School in London (1962–3), joining the Royal Ballet in 1963, and becoming principal in 1970. She created roles in MacMillan's Seven Deadly Sins (1973), Elite Syncopations (1974), Four Seasons (1975), La Fin du jour (1979), Gloria (1980), and Orpheus (1982), van Manen's Four Schumann Pieces (1975), and Neumeier's Fourth Symphony (1977). A dancer of exquisite physical proportions and technical fluency, she danced all the classical ballerina roles, but was most acclaimed in the modern repertoire. She was outstanding in MacMillan ballets—sensually brazen and physically fearless on stage—and when Antoinette Sibley was taken ill during the rehearsal period of Manon, much of the choreography was created on Penney. Dancing the role during the Royal Ballet's tour to the Soviet Union in 1987, she was hailed by Grigorovich, as ‘the best ballerina from England that I have seen since Margot Fonteyn.’ She was also a gifted comedienne, her mischievous personality seen to best advantage in Robbins's The Concert. She retired from Covent Garden in 1988 and returned to her native British Columbia.