I’m so sad to hear of this. I didn’t really know Mr. Mason, but over the last couple of years, he’s been seated next to me at many dance performances. I knew who he was because so many critics would stop by our row and greet him. He was the most lively man. I remember sitting next to him last year when then new ABT wunderkind Daniil Simkin danced Flames of Paris with Sarah Lane, and after Simkin completed an astounding series of barrel turns, Mr. Mason whistled, raised his eyebrows and shook his head, letting out a little laugh. I remember thinking, okay if this man, who’s apparently been around a while and seen a lot, is impressed by this guy, Simkin is officially impressive.
I also remember seeing Mr. Mason not long ago at a Cedar Lake installation performance. A young woman slid off our bench and began stretching and several of us kind of looked at each other, obviously wondering whether she was a dancer and part of the performance but too shy to ask. Mr. Mason took one look at her, and got up and called out to her, “Are you part of the performance?” (She wasn’t, she laughed.)
I feel like I just saw him and he looked perfectly healthy, although with elderly people I guess you never know — it can be any little thing that causes death. I’m actually shocked he was 88; I thought he was in his early 70s — probably because he was so active and sprightly.
And active he was, as you can see from the obituaries. I was just recently introduced to the excellent critical journal he edited, Ballet Review, one of the many things he did.
It’s just so sad thinking that you just saw the person and, now, that’s going to be the last time you ever saw them. I thought the same with Clive Barnes.