By Mary Alys Cherry
The Bay Area arts community lost one of its brightest stars when Lynette Mason Gregg lost her battle with lung disease and took her place on heaven’s stage Oct. 24, leaving behind a wide circle of shocked family and friends who still mourn their loss.
The Deer Park native was one of a kind; no doubt about that. She came to Clear Lake in 1985, bringing her Royal Ballet of Texas and began the process of to setting up an outstanding professional training facility, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Webster, while also changing the name of the dance company and establishing the Bay Area Houston Ballet and Theatre.
From that early start in the Pasadena area until today, she went on to produce 39 seasons of ballets, bringing in dancers from all over the world while also putting on the musicals Grease, Annie, Seussical and Bye, Bye Birdie for the community in recent years.
In the process, she transformed the Clear Lake art community, providing dancers to liven up many a charity gala, rodeo event or fashion show. She even managed to get Hollywood to have the world premiere of the Oscar winning movie, Chicago, in Webster after learning one of her former dance students had a key role in the film.
She did not want to just turn out good dancers. She wanted them to take their place in the Joffrey Ballet, the Boston Ballet, the New York Ballet — to be among the world’s best.
Over the years, RAFA dancers have thrilled local audiences with such classical ballets as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Giselle, Alice in Wonderland and the beloved holiday production of The Nutcracker that many families see with their children year after year.
Members of the Bay Area arts community wonder: Can we go on without her? If her voice could be heard, the answer would be loud and clear, “Of course, you can. Remember my words: Never ever ever give up.”
Ms. Lynette, as she was known to her dance students, was a perfectionist who demanded top quality work out of them and would occasionally raise her voice during rehearsals to get that perfection. The result was top quality ballet productions year after year that made the community proud and, hopefully, will do so for many years to come.