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Mr Wonderful - Jonathan Ollivier's Tribute Gala

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An amazing evening of ballet, modern dance, music, singing, ballroom and videos. My head is a bit mashed at the moment with it all save to say what a fabulous evening, an amazing tribute to Jonathan and what a show case of talent! Probably one of the best Galas I've been to in my life.

Marcelo Gomes was my stand out with his solo piece called Paganini, choreographed by Marcelo, with violinist Charles Yang on stage ..it was just superb. The final piece taken from Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake was a fitting finale. Marcelo Gomes was The Swan and Dominic North the Prince. I found Gomes' interpretation of The Swan to be wonderful, so expressive. The best was yet to come when for the final variation attention was turned to the screen the swans came on stage and sat down to watch the video of Jonathan as the Swan in the solo....not a dry eye in the house. Brilliantly done and very emotional whether you knew Jonathan or not.

There were loads of pieces danced last night some old, some new, lots of fabulous dancers and performers, all giving their time for free, I've barely scratched the surface here and I'm sure others will report in more detail but I wanted to get my initial brief thoughts written down. What a night. Just wow.

Edited by Don Q Fan
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Thanks so much DonQ.  Sadly I wasn't able to go as my daughter had bought tickets to Tosca for me for Christmas for last night, so I am very pleased to read some impressions from those lucky enough to be there!  It sounds like it was an evening that Jonny Ollivier thoroughly deserved.

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Thank you Sim, what a shame you missed it but can't do it all I suppose....

I forgot to mention a super little video piece which was a pas de quatre set to the GPDD music from DonQ no less! (I was delighted of course) It was 4 male dancers inc Jonathan and Richard Winsor all in various forms of male underwear performing some pretty tricky moves and lifts...it was quite something!

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Matthew Bourne announced last night that ticket sales alone had raised over £65,000 for the trust fund for Jon's two boys.  If you want to make a small donation (up to £10), you can text JONO16£X (where X is the number of pounds) to 70070 (and please Gift Aid if possible). 


If you wish to give more, you can here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/displayCharityCampaignPage.action?charityCampaignUrl=inmemoryofjonathanollivier

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A brief running order for those of you who weren't able to get there


Excerpt from Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty


Mr Wonderful – Bourne (danced by some former Princes to JO’s Swan)


Hidden (Rambert School, where JO trained)


Gypsy Souls (Rambert School)


Paganini (choreographed and danced by Marcello Gomes with violinist Charles Yang)


“Growing up” pas de deux from Wuthering Heights, by David Nixon, danced by Northern Ballet. Jonathan created the role of Heathcliff in this production.


Excerpts from Play without Words (Bourne)


Excerpts from “come, been and gone” by Michael Clark Company including Michael himself, and danced to Bowie’s Jean Genie. Jonathan danced in this work with them in 2013.


Excerpts from The Car Man




Tidal from Re:bourne (young ensemble group who appeared in Lord of the Flies)


My Girl from the musical Motown. Choreographed by Warren Adams, friend of Jonathan. who was best man at Warren’s wedding.


Shine, Drew McOnie Company. Jonathan appeared with them in the past. 


Paso Double, Karen and Kevin Clifton.


Sapphire, danced by the men of Northern Ballet, choreographed by David Nixon.


Excerpts from Bourne’s Swan Lake.


In addition we saw Jonathan on film in Bourne’s Spitfire, and a very young Jonathan on an ancient clip from The Generation Game, dancing the Nutcracker....

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Last night was an emotional rollercoaster for me. It was a fabulous celebration of Jon Ollivier's dancing life and Matthew Bourne struck just the right note as the compere.


Don Q and Lynette have described the content of the gala but I just wanted to mention the obvious emotion of all the participants too. Having been a fan of Jon Ollivier since he joined Northern Ballet it was such a poignant evening both incredible to watch but indelibly sad that it needed to happen. One example of the measure of affection in which Jon was held was that Michael Clark performed in his own piece.


Just to mention that I thought the section from Car Man was very cleverly done as there were 3 Lanas and 3 Lucas doing part each.


The Swan Lake segment was particularly memorable and moving. As it ended the Prince (Dominic North) was standing at the back of the stage with his back to the audience. He turned and walked to the front of the stage and the anguish on his face just reduced me to mush. As the screen came alive all the swans came back on stage and sat down to watch an excerpt of Jon as the Swan with Chris Marney as his Prince. As it ended, all the other participants came on stage not only to take a bow but to bow to Jon Ollivier. It was an incredibly moving tribute.


We happened to bump into Charlotte Talbot (who had been on the organising committee) at the interval and she thanked us for coming but how could we not have been there last night.


It was a truly memorable night in honour of an unforgettable dancer. RIP Jonny.

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Thanks Janet - Captures the feeling really well...I was struck by the number of people who just needed sit for a moment to catch their breath/collect themselves after the stage cleared and lights came up.  We really did see something truly special on Monday. 



If anyone else who was there can remember Shine I'd be ever so grateful if you could tell me roughly what they danced/wore as I can remember everything else except that piece:-( Thanks in advance.

Edited by Don Q Fan
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Last night was an emotional rollercoaster for me. It was a fabulous celebration of Jon Ollivier's dancing life

It was emotional enough for those like me who didn't "know" him that well, I think, Janet. I know I was sitting through various parts with tears rolling down my cheeks, and I certainly saw other people near me surreptitiously swiping at their cheeks every now and then, not to mention those who were audibly sniffing. It must have been hugely painful for the dancers, having to dance roles they'd danced many times with him now without him, and I salute them for the tremendous job they did. I was sitting far enough away that I couldn't see their faces clearly, and had chosen not to use my opera glasses.


I think it says a lot about the man too that, despite the evening running for well over 3 hours, I didn't notice anyone trying to make a premature getaway to make last trains and so on.


I'd forgotten that there was footage of him in the MB TV programme, and was grateful for the reminder, but oh, what I'd give for a recording of him in the full Swan Lake :(

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