Family and friends have announced the passing of Emily Joan Shelton Mason.  Mason passed away Saturday at age 96.  The native of New Zealand came to Wenatchee in 1944 and was an icon in the arts community, known for her annual holiday productions of The Nutcracker.  She also taught ballet and dance to hundreds of local dancers like Jennifer Bushong who was involved in many of Mason's stage  productions.  Bushong recalled what Mason would tell her dancers before a performance...

 

Mason's teaching career spanned some 60 years in the Wenatchee Valley and perhaps she was teaching something more than just pas de duex as former student Michelle Smith recalls...

 

Mason started teaching ballet in the greater Wenatchee Valley by travelling to Waterville, Chelan, and Cashmere until she opened her studio in 1951.  She staged the first true ballet in Wenatchee, bringing “The Nutcracker” to the Liberty Theater stage in 1961.   She founded Wenatchee Civic Ballet, then known Ballet Theatre Northwest and teamed with artists from around the globe and the late Charles Bennett to produce ballets such as “Cinderella”, Wenatchee’s “River Scenes”, “Snow White”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “The Wizard of Oz”, “Beatrix Potter” and “Peter Pan”.   Mason also founded a non-profit touring production company,  Children’s Ballet Theatre and toured Seattle and Tacoma with Charles Bennett’s storybook ballet’s “Snow White”

Mason is recognized around the country for her contributions to dance but locally, she was given the keys to the City by Mayor Lynch, awarded by the Numerica Performing Arts Center as the Stanley Lifetime Achievement recipient in 2002, and was named the Wenatchee Valley Museum Treasure in 2009.

A public celebration of her life will be held at the Numerica Performing Arts Center on Sunday, April 22nd from 2 to 4pm.

 

loading...