News: Monica Mason Looks Back

Friday 13 July 2012 by Sarah Golding

Dame Monica Mason has retired as Director of the Royal Ballet. She reflects on her time with the company that she joined at the age of 16 as a member of the corps de ballet in 1958.

“Over her 54 years with the Royal Ballet, Mason has seen revolutionary changes. When she joined up in 1958, “dancers had no voice. We did what we were told and even if you did have an opinion, there was nobody to listen to it. That began to change in the Sixties, when Equity came in. I was the union rep for a time, and remember being terrified at what the management might think of me.”

She also talks about the changes in how the dancers have changed over the years,
“Technique has changed, too, and in some respects improved. But we aren’t in a technical business. It’s not about whizz-bang, it’s about artistry, maturity, style, emotion. Don’t underestimate the audience, I tell dancers. There aren’t just 2,000 pairs of eyes out there, but 2,000 brains and imaginations as well, and if you’re only thinking about legs and feet, it’s not going to satisfy them.”

Read the full article in, Telegraph, 13 July.12

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