7 February 2017 / Events
Dame Monica Mason OBE
Presented by Dame Monica Mason
Dame Monica Mason, former director of the Royal Ballet, will be joined by Dr Jane Pritchard, Curator of Dance at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Monica Mason is 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.
Mason was born in Johannesburg in 1941. She came to England aged 14 to train at the Nesta Brooking School of Ballet and The Royal Ballet School, and joined the Company in 1958. In 1962 she was selected by MacMillan from the corps de ballet to create the role of the Chosen Maiden (The Rite of Spring). 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. She retired from her position as Director in 2012, and in 2014 became Chairman of The Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund.