Monica Mason (published 2013)


In this interview, Mason mostly discusses her earliest days working at The Royal Ballet. She had only been in school for a year when she had been picked to perform with the company, having taken the place of another company member who had gotten pregnant. She recalls how astonished and overwhelmed she was, as her only role prior to becoming a featured member was a walk on role in Petrushka. She also couldn't believe she would be on the same stage that Maria Callas sang on. She also discusses the end of her career, having auditioned (poorly, as she believes) for a television role.

Biographical note:

Dame Monica Mason was born in Johanesberg, South Africa in 1941. At 16, she joined the Royal Ballet School as the youngest dancer in the corps. By 20, choreographer Kenneth MacMillan was creating roles for her, most notably in The Rite of Spring and Manon. Other notable roles included Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, the title role in The Firebird, and Lady Elgar in Enigma Variations. Mason later became a répétiteur (rehearsal director) for MacMillan's works and found an appreciation for coaching. She taught at the Royal Ballet School starting in 1980 and became its Artistic Director in 2002 until her retired in July 2012.




London, UK



“Monica Mason (published 2013),” Dance Dialogues: Interviews by Barbara Newman, 1979-Present, accessed September 24, 2020,