Tributes to former Northern Ballet star hailed as an ‘extraordinary performer’

NORTHERN BALLET has paid tribute to a dancer who was killed in a motorcycle accident hours before he was due to perform in a West End show.

Jonathan Ollivier
Jonathan Ollivier

Jonathan Ollivier, 38, died on Sunday shortly before he was due to take to the stage in the final show of Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man at Sadler’s Wells Theatre.

David Nixon, artistic direct at Northern Ballet in Leeds, said: “Jon was an extremely valued member of Northern Ballet and an extraordinary performer.

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“He joined Northern Ballet in the corps rising to a principal dancer with the company dancing all the male leading roles.

“His creation of the role of Stanley in Didy Veldman’s and Patricia Doyle’s A Street Car Named Desire was the start of a highly successful career to follow. When I arrived at Northern Ballet I was inspired by the engaging charisma, strength and natural acting instincts of Jon. He soon became an integral part of my work and was involved in most of my creations. Most memorable will always be his incredibly powerful and unforgettable Heathcliff opposite Charlotte Talbot’s Cathy. It was an inspired and privileged moment for me as a choreographer. Jon went on to dance with Alberta Ballet and then with Matthew Bourne where he continued to grow as an artist and performer. Jon’s untimely death is a loss to the world of dance and unbelievably tragic for his family.”

Mr Ollivier, 38, from Northampton, was described by choreographer Matthew Bourne as “a true gent”. Bourne, artistic director of New Adventures dance company which was behind The Car Man, said: “Jonathan Ollivier was one of the most charismatic and powerful dancers of his generation.”

He was involved in a collision with a Mercedes-Benz in Farringdon Road and was pronounced dead at the scene. The car driver was arrested.