LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Ballet Dancer Dies In London Motorbike Accident

Ollivier also danced the lead in Matthew Bourne's <em>Swan Lake</em> in 2010. He is pictured here in Times Square where he was promoting the show's return to Broadway.

On Sunday, 38-year-old ballet dancer Jonathan Ollivier died after his motorbike collided with a Mercedes. The accident occurred just after 11 a.m. BST and Ollivier was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the BBC, the driver was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and released on bail.

Ollivier was slated to perform in the final show of choreographer Matthew Bourne's The Car Man in London on Sunday night. The show was canceled.

After Ollivier's sister confirmed his death on Facebook, Bourne paid tribute to the dancer, calling him "one of the most charismatic and powerful dancers of his generation."

Ollivier, a father of two sons, grew up in Northampton in the United Kingdom. In a recent interview with the BBC, he explained how he became interested in dance.

"I've got three sisters that used to go dancing and, one day, one of the teachers asked my mum if she wanted to leave me to do a class so that she could go off and do some shopping."

"I ended up staying and that was it really. It wasn't anything that I'd seen on TV and thought, 'that's what I want to do,' it was actually doing a class that got me hooked. I loved it from the first one I did. I just knew that's what I wanted to do."

Ollivier's professional career began in South Africa at Cape Town City Ballet, before he joined The National Ballet Theatre (now called Northern Ballet) in 1999. He also spent two years in Canada as a principal dancer with the Alberta Ballet Company. He is well-known for his roles as Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire, Hyde in Jekyll and Hyde and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights.

David Nixon, the artistic director of Northern Ballet when Ollivier was a dancer, expressed his sadness over the loss and honored his memory. Per BBC, Nixon said he was "inspired by [Ollivier's] engaging charisma, strength and natural acting instincts. ... 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."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)