South African dancer Monica Mason is a former Director of The Royal Ballet, a position she held 2002–12. She trained at The Royal Ballet School and entered the Company aged 16, becoming the Company's youngest member. Mason was appointed Répétiteur to Kenneth MacMillan in 1980, Principal Répétiteur to The Royal Ballet in 1984, Assistant Director in 1991 and Director in December 2002. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Royal Ballet in 2006 she and Christopher Newton revived the Company's hugely popular 1946 staging of The Sleeping Beauty.
Mason was born in Johannesburg in 1941 and came to England aged 14 to train at the Nesta Brooking School of Ballet and The Royal Ballet School, entering the Company in 1958. She was selected by MacMillan from the corps de ballet to create the demanding role of the Chosen Maiden in The Rite of Spring (1962). She went on to create several major roles for MacMillan, including Lescaut’s Mistress (Manon), Calliope Rag (Elite Syncopations), Summer (The Four Seasons) and the Midwife (Rituals). She became a Principal in 1968, dancing repertory that included classical and dramatic roles. She was also a highly praised interpreter of the lead female role in MacMillan’s Song of the Earth.
In 2002 Mason was awarded an OBE and in 2008 was created a Dame Commander for her services to dance.
News and features
Our recent event brought together ballet fans with Wikipedia experts to improve the online encyclopedia's articles on choreographer Kenneth MacMillan.
The portrait by Saied Dai reflects Dame Monica's careers as dancer and director.
Tributes to the former Music Director of The Royal Opera from Dame Monica Mason, Sir John Tooley and others.
From The Rite of Spring to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, ballet's specially-created roles.
Annual list celebrates those who have influenced the creative industries over the previous year.
Book will include original works by Chris Ofili, Conrad Shawcross and Mark Wallinger.
Monica Mason, Laura Morera and Ricardo Cervera backstage during The Turn of the Screw, The Royal Ballet
Bruce Sansom and Monica Mason in The Turn of the Screw, The Royal Ballet
Monica Mason and John Tooley
Sir Colin Southgate, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Monica Mason, Golden Jubilee Gala 23 July 2002
Monica Mason at the Olivier Awards 2012
Dame Monica Mason with Rudolf Nureyev in Hamlet (1964)
Monica Mason with Alexander Grant and Georgina Parkinson in La traviata (1965)
Monica Mason by Saied Dai
Dame Monica Mason in Les Noces (1967)
Laura Morera, Monica Mason and Zenaida Yanowsky in The Turn of the Screw, The Royal Ballet
David Drew, Monica Mason, David Wall, Jennifer Penney, Anthony Dowell and members of The Royal Ballet during the curtain call for Manon
David Drew as Laertes, Derek Rencher as King of Denmark, Rudolf Nureyev as Hamlet and Monica Mason as Queen of Denmark in Hamlet (1964)
Dame Monica Mason