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Monica Mason

Biography

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. In 2014 she became Chairman of The Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund.

Videos

News and features

Watch: Song of the Earth in rehearsal

Watch: Song of the Earth in rehearsal

27 March 2015

Royal Ballet Principals Laura Morera, Nehemiah Kish and Edward Watson rehearse Kenneth MacMillan's piece with Monica Mason and notator Grant Coyle.

Female Character Artists: from loving mother to bloodthirsty baddy

Female Character Artists: from loving mother to bloodthirsty baddy

5 February 2015

These expert dancer-actors are as important to the drama as the leading lady.

ROH Editathon: Improving Wikipedia's entries on dance

ROH Editathon: Improving Wikipedia's entries on dance

29 October 2014

Our recent event brought together ballet fans with Wikipedia experts to improve the online encyclopedia's articles on choreographer Kenneth MacMillan.

Photos