Monica Mason (published 1982)

Dublin Core


Monica Mason (published 1982)


Mason discusses mime in dance, particularly in The Firebird. She talks about the integral part of the feather in her wardrobe, and other wardrobe issues as Odette in Swan Lake.

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.


Pratt SILS 665-01, Barbara Newman

Date Created

July 1, 1979



Access Rights

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Is Part Of

Newman, B. (1982). Striking a balance: Dancers talk about dancing. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Newman, B. (1992). Striking a balance: Dancers talk about dancing. New York: Limelight Editions.


Audio Cassette Tape




Interviews recorded on cassette by Barbara Newman

Rights Holder

Barbara Newman, Dame Monica Mason

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Audio Cassette Tape

Digital Format


Digital Master




Bit Rate/Frequency

128 kbps/44.1 kHz


Barbara Newman


Dame Monica Mason, 1941-


Washington, D.C.

Additional content

"Monica Mason is never the same twice, even in the same ballet. Every time you look at her, you find someone you've never seen before. In a company of classical conformity, Mason is an original, a dancer of exceptional daring and uncommon diversity. Like Alec Guinness, she transforms herself from role to role without reservation, adopting theatrical guises with such apparent ease that her personal anonymity has become part of her artistic identity. How many women can capture the classical serenity of Nikiya, the sardonic humor of Webster, the operatic flamboyance of Carabosse, and the eloquent austerity that permeates Song of the Earth? I selfishly chose to talk to her about Firebird because I'd never had the chance to see her dance it," Barbara Newman (1992).




“Monica Mason (published 1982),” Dance Dialogues: Interviews by Barbara Newman, 1979-Present, accessed June 28, 2022,

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