The Royal Ballet’s Artistic Director Dame Monica Mason DBE receives QEII Coronation Award
The Royal Academy of Dance has presented its most prestigious award, the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Coronation Award to Dame Monica Mason DBE, Director of The Royal Ballet, in appreciation of her lifetime contribution to dance.
Celebrations were held on 8 December in the Crush Room at the Royal Opera House, London, and an array of notable faces from the dance world attended, including: RAD President Dame Antoinette Sibley DBE, RAD Vice Presidents Dame Beryl Grey DBE, David Bintley CBE, Dr Ivor Guest, Wayne Sleep OBE and Sir Peter Wright CBE, and Artistic Director of The Place, Kenneth Tharp.
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Monica Mason came to England and joined The Royal Ballet in 1958 at the age of 16, the youngest member of the company at the time. Appointed a Principal in 1968, Mason’s roles embraced classical styles such as Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty and
Myrtha in Giselle and more dramatic parts such as the Hostess in Les Biches and the Black Queen in Checkmate. Other major roles have included the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Empress Elisabeth and Mitzi Caspar in MacMillan’s Mayerling and the title role in The Firebird for Frederick Ashton.
Mason’s lifetime contribution to dance has already been recognised by the awarding of an OBE in 2002, an Achievement in Dance award from the Dance Teacher’s Benevolent Fund in 2003 and the appointment of Dame Commander for her service to dance in June 2008.
Instituted in 1953 to mark the coronation of the Academy’s Patron, H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, the QE II Award is the highest honour the Academy can bestow. Past recipients include Sir Frederick Ashton, Dame Marie Rambert, Dame Ninette de Valois, Gillian Lynne CBE, Alexander Grant CBE, Sir Peter Wright CBE, Victor and Lilian Hochhauser and last year, Rachel Cameron.