JezzWarren.com

dance

Jonathan Ollivier

jonathan-oll2_3404615b

Date of Birth: April 26 1977, Northampton, UK
Birth Name: Jonathan Byrne Ollivier
Nicknames: Jonathan Ollivier

Jonathan Ollivier, the dancer, was an internationally acclaimed star in British companies, particularly the choreographer Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and Northern Ballet.
With his vulpine good looks and rangy body, Ollivier could inject an ambiguous mystery into leading roles in contemporary ballet stories, such as Bourne’s male Swan in his celebrated Swan Lake rewrite, in which the Wall Street Journal’s critic considered that he had even more forceful charisma in 2010 than the role’s originator in 1995, Adam Cooper of the Royal Ballet.
Jonathan Ollivier had built up a rack of stage roles such as Stanley Kowalski, Dracula, Heathcliff and Romeo in productions at Northern Ballet, Leeds, where for seven years he was a major attraction as principal dancer, able to cut an appealingly romantic figure in a variety of costume roles.
Even though few of the ballets were highly rated by critics, Ollivier’s distinction as a performer was consistently given critical recognition and was twice nominated in the National Dance Awards as Best Male Dancer in 2003 and 2004.

jonathan-oll3_3404614b

Despite the success of his youth, it was in his thirties, and after he decided to become freelance, that Ollivier achieved a more complex and interesting artistic profile. This arrived mainly through his performing of three subtle character creations by Matthew Bourne, in which the mature Ollivier found a new dramatic range.
As the mysterious, dangerous male Swan in Bourne’s modern Swan Lake, as the amoral 1960s London “babe-magnet” Speight in Play Without Words, and this summer as the devilish mechanic in The Car Man, Ollivier deployed a memorable unpredictability and virile presence.
It was his ability as a dance-actor to fuse edgy vulnerability with fatal attractiveness that led to his being given the prestige of leading the last performance of The Car Man’s run, tragically prevented on Sunday.
Jonathan Byrne Ollivier was born in Northampton on April 26 1977. His father, a builder, left when Jonathan was two, and his mother brought him up on her own with his three sisters. Having an Irish grandfather, he had taken up Irish dancing young, but after being shouted at by his teacher changed to ballet aged six.
He asked his mother to let him stay to watch two of his sisters as they took ballet and tap classes, rather than go with her to the shops, recalling later: “I made up my mind from a very young age that it was exactly what I wanted to do.” He dealt with bullies at school by taking up karate and progressed to a black belt.
At 16 Ollivier considered himself fortunate to have failed the Royal Ballet School audition, since full-time training at the Rambert Ballet School opened up a range of possibilities in both ballet and contemporary dance that he would exploit later. Aged 19, he got his first job in South Africa with Cape Town City Ballet, where he met his future wife, the South African dancer Desiré Samaai.
Three years later he returned to Britain to join Northern Ballet Theatre, Leeds, where Desiré Samaai, whom he had married, joined him. Ollivier soon originated the role of Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire by the contemporary choreographer Didy Veldman and the main part in Michael Pink’s Dracula. He then attracted fans by dancing the more classical Romeo and Tybalt in Massimo Moricone’s Romeo and Juliet, he said he preferred playing the bad Tybalt to the good Romeo.
While in Leeds, Ollivier was a dancer of notable strength, though not always in works worthy of him. He proved his versatility by the range of the leading roles created for him: in Birgit Scherzer’s Requiem, Moricone’s Jekyll and Hyde, and in many by Northern Ballet Theatre’s choreographer-director David Nixon including Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream .

Matthew+Bourne_s+Swan+Lake+December+2013_jr_076_ollivier_brennan_1000.jpg.small

In 2005 Ollivier and his wife starred together in Veronica Paeper’s dance version of La Traviata.
Ollivier left in 2007 for the more classical atmosphere of Canada’s Alberta Ballet, but returned to Britain as a freelance in his thirties, with signal success. Soon after his first son was born, he caught attention in three highly varied roles, with Michael Clark in his New Work 2012, and in Britain’s first tour of the musical Dirty Dancing, in which he starred.
He was then hired by Bourne for his innovative Play Without Words, a dance production based on Joseph Losey’s film The Servant, in which Ollivier’s Speight was considered by one critic to be “as explosive as Elvis”.
After this, he took over the leading role in Bourne’s Swan Lake, hailed as exceptional in New York on the company’s 2010 tour, and then to The Car Man this summer.
Always an eloquent advocate for ballet for boys, in 2006 Ollivier was presented with an honorary fellowship from the University of Northampton. “I don’t think people understand how athletic dance is,” he said. “It’s actually very close to training for martial arts .”

Geoffrey Holder

Geoffrey_Holder

Date of Birth: 1 August, 1930, Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago
Birth Name: Geoffrey Richard Holder
Nicknames: Geoffrey Holder

Geoffrey Holder, the Tony-winning actor, dancer and choreographer known to millions as Baron Samedi in Bond movie Live and Let Die.
Born in Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, Holder was also a composer, a designer and a celebrated painter.
He will be best remembered to many as the cackling Voodoo villain who dogged Roger Moore's footsteps in his first outing as secret agent James Bond.
His other films included 1982 musical Annie, in which he played Punjab.

Annie1982-Still8

Often cast in exotic roles, he played a tribal chieftain in 1967 film Doctor Dolittle and a sorceror in Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask).
More recently, his distinctive bass voice was heard narrating Tim Burton's 2005 film version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Holder, one of four children, was taught to dance by his older brother Boscoe, joining his dance company at the age of seven.

9712-geoffrey-holder-wins-tony

geof9

He became director of the company in the late 1940s after Boscoe moved to London, before moving to the US in 1954.
Holder made his Broadway debut that same year in House of Flowers, a Caribbean-themed musical in which he first played Baron Samedi.

0710_holder_g

A top-hatted spirit of death in Haitian Voodoo culture, the character made full use of the actor's imposing physique and physical dexterity.
Holder went on to appear in an all-black production of Waiting for Godot and in the Tony Award-winning production of The Wiz, an all-black version of The Wizard of Oz.

Geoffrey Holder

Geoffrey_Holder

Date of Birth: 1 August, 1930, Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago
Birth Name: Geoffrey Richard Holder
Nicknames: Geoffrey Holder

Geoffrey Holder, the Tony-winning actor, dancer and choreographer known to millions as Baron Samedi in Bond movie Live and Let Die.
Born in Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, Holder was also a composer, a designer and a celebrated painter.
He will be best remembered to many as the cackling Voodoo villain who dogged Roger Moore's footsteps in his first outing as secret agent James Bond.
His other films included 1982 musical Annie, in which he played Punjab.

Annie1982-Still8

Often cast in exotic roles, he played a tribal chieftain in 1967 film Doctor Dolittle and a sorceror in Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask).
More recently, his distinctive bass voice was heard narrating Tim Burton's 2005 film version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Holder, one of four children, was taught to dance by his older brother Boscoe, joining his dance company at the age of seven.

9712-geoffrey-holder-wins-tony

geof9

He became director of the company in the late 1940s after Boscoe moved to London, before moving to the US in 1954.
Holder made his Broadway debut that same year in House of Flowers, a Caribbean-themed musical in which he first played Baron Samedi.

0710_holder_g

A top-hatted spirit of death in Haitian Voodoo culture, the character made full use of the actor's imposing physique and physical dexterity.
Holder went on to appear in an all-black production of Waiting for Godot and in the Tony Award-winning production of The Wiz, an all-black version of The Wizard of Oz.

Robert Marlowe

Robert-Marlowe-2

Date of Birth: 19 April 1929, England, UK
Birth Name: Robert Marlowe

The days of the summer show, especially those staged on seaside piers, are almost over. One who championed their cause in the latter years was Robert Marlowe, who became particularly associated with productions in the Norfolk resort of Cromer.
He was stagestruck as a child. At the age of eight, he built a theatre from a summer house, designed and painted its sets and played a starring role, wearing a crimson velvet cloak with a fur-lined collar.
He worked first in engineering and dentistry, but then took up ballroom dancing and began winning medals as a teacher. His professional theatrical career began in a summer show at Clacton in Essex in 1953, followed by a pantomime at the Alhambra, Bradford, in which he quickly had to learn how to dance on stilts.

marlowe_2421672b

Soon after that, he joined a nationwide tour of a Folies Bergere production, Paris to Piccadilly, which had enjoyed a long run in the West End. He spent four years with the comedian famous for his “odd odes”, Cyril Fletcher, who also ran summer shows. Over the years, Marlowe worked as a dancer, singer, cabaret artist, actor and writer of pantomimes.
His first association with Cromer came in 1982 when, at the invitation of the impresario Richard Condon, he took over a show in which the cast of 12 was occasionally outnumbered by the audience. Soon Marlowe’s production, Seaside Special, was attracting coachloads of theatregoers from all over eastern and south-east England. He ran the show for 20 years.
One of his friends, Paul Holman, whose company presents pantomimes and summer shows, said: “Bob was a great man of the theatre. He was an inspirational man and his passion was his profession.”

Nigel Charnock

nigel_charnock1

Date of Birth: 23 May 1960, Manchester, England, UK
Birth Name: Nigel Charnock

Nigel Charnock, the performer, director and choreographer of the DV8 Physical Theatre company
Nigel was one who gave everything he had, emotionally, intellectually and physically. Charnock's work was grounded in improvisation and frequently autobiographical, with a streak of black comedy.
He worked on the fringes of the mainstream, often creating challenging pieces that dealt with his homosexuality.
For the next six years, Nigel continued working together on DV8 projects. His unsparing performance in Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men (1990) and tragicomic character in Strange Fish (1992), subsequently captured on film, remain testimony to his extraordinary physicality and talent with text; he was touching, tragic, hilarious, honest.

nigel_charnock2

Born in Manchester, Nigel studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff and then went on to train at the London School of Contemporary Dance (1981) before working with Ludus Dance company (1982-85) and Extemporary Dance Theatre (1985-86).
After leaving DV8 in 1993, he created a series of solos for himself: Human Being, Hell Bent, Original Sin, Resurrection and Frank, which all revolved around themes of love, redemption, loneliness and nihilism. These themes recurred through his life's work. He formed Nigel Charnock + Company in 1995, but continued to make pieces for other companies in Britain and abroad. At the time of his death, he was working on Ten Men for his own company, an excerpt of which premiered to great acclaim at the British Dance Edition showcase in February 2012.
There may have been an element of defensiveness in his statements, but Nigel was scathing about the elitism of contemporary dance and ballet. He disliked arty pretentiousness: "I'm more of an entertainer, I make shows, really, I make pieces, I don't make work."
He said last year in a filmed interview: "I don't take anything seriously, oh well here we go, let's do this, come on, you're not here for very long, you could get cancer tomorrow, it's only life, its really not important." But Nigel was a bundle of contradictions: he took many things seriously and railed fearlessly against religion, homophobia, bad hairstyles or whatever was topical that day.
In 2007, during a performance of his improvised solo Frank in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, he inadvertently caused a cultural furore by dancing on the Armenian and British flags. The Armenian minister for culture said: "It is unacceptable for us that someone who is considered a national treasure to Britain would bring such low-quality art to Armenia." It was reported that some audience members likened the solo to a "strip act" and felt uncomfortable because Nigel challenged their "conservative definitions of art".