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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 and became a Principal in 1968, dancing repertory that included classical and dramatic roles. Roles MacMillan created on her included Lescaut’s Mistress (Manon), Calliope Rag (Elite Syncopations), Summer (The Four Seasons) and the Midwife (Rituals). 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.

Videos

News and features

National Portrait Gallery unveils painting of Monica Mason

National Portrait Gallery unveils painting of Monica Mason

27 March 2014

The portrait by Saied Dai reflects Dame Monica's careers as dancer and director.

Sir Colin Davis (1927–2013)

Sir Colin Davis (1927–2013)

16 April 2013

Tributes to the former Music Director of The Royal Opera from Dame Monica Mason, Sir John Tooley and others.

Creator and Muse: Choreographers, dancers and the roles they make together

Creator and Muse: Choreographers, dancers and the roles they make together

6 December 2012

From The Rite of Spring to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, ballet's specially-created roles.

Wayne McGregor, Monica Mason and Liam Scarlett nominated for h.Club 100 list

Wayne McGregor, Monica Mason and Liam Scarlett nominated for h.Club 100 list

9 October 2012

Annual list celebrates those who have influenced the creative industries over the previous year.

Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 celebrated with limited edition book

Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 celebrated with limited edition book

24 July 2012

Book will include original works by Chris Ofili, Conrad Shawcross and Mark Wallinger.

Watch: Monica Mason's final curtain call as Director of The Royal Ballet

Watch: Monica Mason's final curtain call as Director of The Royal Ballet

21 July 2012

Retiring Director given traditional flower throw.

Photos