Professional ballet dancer from Northampton dies in tragic motorbike accident

Jonathan Ollivier as The Swan in Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in 2009. Photograph courtesy of Bill Cooper, photographer / billcooper.co.uk ENGPNL00120140117160807
Jonathan Ollivier as The Swan in Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in 2009. Photograph courtesy of Bill Cooper, photographer / billcooper.co.uk ENGPNL00120140117160807

Tributes have been paid by the sister of a professional dancer from Northampton after he died in a motorbike accident.

Jonathan Ollivier, 38, died in the crash in central London on Sunday morning just hours after he was due to perform in Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man at Sadler’s Wells Theatre.

Scotland Yard confirmed the details of the accident. Mr Ollivier was involved in a collision with a black Mercedes saloon shortly after 11am.

Police, paramedics and an air ambulance crew attended but they were unable to save his life.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and was being questioned by police.

Writing on Facebook, Mr Ollivier’s sister, Rachel, said: ““To all my beautiful little bro friends, it is with a heavy heart that we have to tell you that Jon tragically died today. We love him and will miss him massively xx”.

Mr Ollivier was due to play the role of Luca in the final show of the Matthew Bourne play.

In an statement, the theatre said: “On behalf of the company New Adventures, we regret to inform patrons that tonight’s performance of The Car Man at Sadler’s Wells has had to be cancelled due to a tragic accident earlier today.

“While due process is being followed we are unable to give further information however we offer our sincere condolences to those concerned.

“New Adventures and Sadler’s Wells are sorry for the inconvenience caused to patrons due to attend tonight’s performance.”

Matthew Bourne, artistic director of New Adventures, has issued a tribute on behalf of the company.

“Yesterday we lost our “Swan” and our “Car Man” – Jonathan Ollivier was one of the most charismatic and powerful dancers of his generation: An intensely masculine presence tempered with tenderness and vulnerability made him the perfect casting for a string of triumphant roles in the New Adventures repertory including “The Swan”, the enigmatic “Speight” in “Play Without Words” and his final role as Luca in “The Car Man” which he was due to dance at last nights final performance at Sadler’s Wells.

“A man of great warmth and charm, Jonny was a true gent, loved and respected by his colleagues and adored by audiences who were mesmerised by his memorable performances on stage as well as his friendly and genuine personality at the Stage Door. He was also an inspiration and role model to several generations of young dancers who strived to emulate his enviable technique and majestic stage presence.

“Yesterday’s events have ripped at the heart of the New Adventures family and we join together to send our heartfelt condolences to all of Jonny’s family and friends. In our grieving for this irreplaceable artist we take some comfort in the legacy of memories that he has left behind.”