Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Jonathan Ollivier - The Swan

I was sad to hear the news on Sunday that Jonathan Ollivier had been killed in a car accident as he was biking to his final performance in 'The Car Man' at Sadler's Wells. I saw 'The Car Man' a few weeks back but with a different principal dancer but I've seen Jonathan twice as the Swan/Stranger in Matthew Bourne's 'Swan Lake' in 2009 and 2013 at Sadler's Wells and loved those productions.

In part I think the outpouring of sympathy on Twitter and in the mainstream news has been because it happened on his way to the last performance at Sadler's Wells and the last performance of 'The Car Man' tour. The performance was, understandably, cancelled in the circumstances. It's nice, in a way, to see him honoured with all the press coverage. Some articles are simply factually wrong but the obituary in 'The Guardian' seems to get it right so take a read. Matthew Bourne has posted a touching message on the New Adventures site.

I only saw Jonathan dance twice, both times as the Swan and that's how I'll remember him. I remember well his imperious alpha-male approach to dancing the Swan and his alter-ego the Stranger at the Queen's ball when he seduces anyone he wants. Moving from the unthinking aggresion of the Swan towards the Prince which softens as they dance to the protective love we see in the final scenes, he interpretted the role for us and played it out on the stage with movement and dance. There's a certain magic when it all works and it certainly worked with Jonathan.

He's a sad loss. I hope his family take some comfort from the sympathy expressed everywhere and that his children got to see him dance or will see him dance on DVD. Be proud of your dad, kids.

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