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.”