Lynette H

Dame Monica Mason

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Thank you for that news, Lynette and congratulations to Dame Monica.

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Thank you for that news, Lynette and congratulations to Dame Monica.

I think Dame Monica deserved that. She was never a great classical dancer - I think she did some Swan Lakes but I have never seen those. She was a character dancer, a dancer-actress and as such formidable. Thats is good to know, I think she totally merited this title.

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Thank you for that news, Lynette and congratulations to Dame Monica.

I think Dame Monica deserved that. She was never a great classical dancer - I think she did some Swan Lakes but I have never seen those. She was a character dancer, a dancer-actress and as such formidable. Thats is good to know, I think she totally merited this title.

Congratulations to DameMonica.

I saw Monica Mason's first Odtte/Odile in Sutton Surrey in England and it was revelatory in the full-blooded physical approach akin although in a lower key to the legendary Plisetskaya. She never for me repeated that approach in her later career.

Off hand her remarkable performances were in Les Noces, with Deanne Bergsma in the Snow Scene in Nureyev's

"Nututcracker", Gypsy in The Two Pigeons, MacMillan's Rite of Spring, her intensity in Song of the Earth, Queen of the Wilis etc etc. Dame Monica tackled classical roles and her performances were always lit by the intensity of commitment to performing. She was at her best in an era in these roles when others were more suited.

An outstanding performer without whom the Royal Ballet would have been a lesser entity and like other dancers who did not become 'star' dancers her contribution is immeasurable.

I congratulate her steady hand in what has been a remarkable achievement in carrying the Royal Ballet forward from an extraordinary difficult situation she inherited.

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SO thoroughly deserved.

I saw her in the late 60s and loved her performances -- I'[d say she was maybe like Vaganova or Nijinska, a superb classical dancer who was too strong-looking to be given the dainty roles. But there's no faulting her lines, her aplomb, clarity, elevation, plie, softness in fondu, speed; her batterie was like Nijinska's must have been, brilliant and fleeting and full of wit.

What I remember was how she talked with her feet. She was the girl in yellow in Dances at a Gathering, which means VERY fast; Myrtha was wondefully chiselled when still, but she could jump so high and alight so softly it softened the harsher edges of the character and made her beautiful. She was such a complex, wry, dazzling character as the hostess in Les Biches.

I loved her performances.

Congratulations to her.

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She was never a great classical dancer - I think she did some Swan Lakes but I have never seen those.

I agree she wasn't a great Odette/Odile but her acting made her performances worthwhile. When I put together my composite Swan Lake, stitching together all the best bits I've seen, she and David Wall always do the moment in Act IV when the Prince comes back to the lake and kneels at her feet - her gesture of forgiveness was both tender and magnificent.

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I think that she probably made her first deep impression on the audience as the Chosen Maiden in MacMillan's setting of The Rite of Spring. I know that she scared the bejeezus out of me with her intensity.

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Don't know where else to put this so I'll park it here . . .

The Fall 2008 issue of Ballet Review has an interview with Monica Mason and I found some of her answers exceedingly curious. For instance, interviewer Kevin Ng asks her if she thinks the Royal's male dancers are the equal of its female dancers. Mason says yes but then only mentions Carlos Acosta. Ng also asks Mason about why there has been such a (relative) paucity of Ashton since the 2004-5 centenary and her answer is that they did a lot in 2004-5 so they're not doing a lot now. But . . . shouldn't they be? (This is one part of the interview which really cried out for a follow-up.)

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Thanks, innopac, for reviving this thread. The link didn't work for me, so I recopied the link directly from Flanders' own website, and it does seem to work.

http://www.judithfla..ly-open-secret/

Back in 2008, miliosr and others pointed out the lack of Ashton productions. For 2011-12, Flanders points out that there have been quite a few Ashton productions, but not the requisite style.

n this season of Mason-ic celebration, with the twentieth-century British repertory highlighted (six Ashton productions, six Macmillan), it is clear that the once-vivid British style has almost vanished. Frederick Ashton’s choreography requires brisk, bright footwork counterpoised by a plastic, swooning fluidity in the upper body. Of all the Royal’s dancers, only Marianela Nuñez can claim total mastery of the style; Cojocaru is a close second, but her tiny frame prevents her upper-body work from carrying as vividly as Nuñez’s.

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Thank you for the link -- I don't always see her work, and I felt she had several cogent things to say here. This

"Ballet companies are, by their nature, filled with adolescents and very young adults working at levels of unimaginable competition in a world in which they have been almost entirely closed off to outside influences since childhood"

is quite true and not often acknowledged. But her conclusions here

"I fear it is not deliberate that black dancers are not welcome; it is not deliberate that women creatives go unhired. If it were deliberate, it would be easier to eradicate. But what is happening appears more insidious. It is a matter of people hiring those with whom they are comfortable, finding people who look and sound more (to use Mason’s word) “suitable”."

is the part I am the most impressed with, in part because it can describe our current state of public affairs in many situations including the dance world. In many ways, we have done the easy parts -- it is much simpler to get to the place where we acknowledge that there is a disparity and that disparity is bad, than it is to do the significant cultural changes to mend that difference.

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Flanders' piece is printed in the August 3 issue of the Times Literary Supplement. Here's a response to Flanders, from her own website:

James Black on August 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm

said:

Mason’s point that it is a matter of talent not gender is surely pertinent.

Is there also a possibility that Classical Ballet may not necessarily appeal to black dancers who have other traditions.

Steven McRae did not replace Sergei Polunion in La Sylphide. He had always been due to partner Alina Cojocaru. Polunin had been due to partner Sarah Lamb. If you wish your comments to be taken seriously, do try to get your facts correct.

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