Tributes pour in after death of top choreographer

TRIBUTES poured in yesterday for David Gordon, one of the country’s most colourful choreographers, who died yesterday, aged 69.

A former ballet master of the Irish National Ballet, he died in Cork’s South Infirmary University Hospital just after 11am after a long battle with cancer.

He is survived by his brothers Carl and Jackie.

A native of Belfast, he began his career as a boy soprano and sang at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953.

He later trained to become a dancer at the Royal Ballet School and subsequently graduated to the Royal Ballet company as a dancer and later a highly regarded teacher.

He was integral to the setting up of the Irish National Ballet with the late Joan Denise Moriarty in Cork in the early 1970s.

He was asked by Dame Ninette de Valois, the founder of the Royal Ballet where Mr Gordon taught, to travel to Cork to help establish the company and its repertoire.

He thought he would be staying for just a few months but he remained with the company as ballet master for the next 17 years. After the dissolution of the Irish National Ballet in 1989, he chose to remain in Cork and worked as a freelance choreographer and director of musicals.

A flamboyant character dressed in his favourite shawls and jewellery, he was known to close friends as Mother Gordon.

Pat Talbot, the artistic director of the Everyman Palace Theatre, said: “He was a larger-than-life figure, colourful and incredibly funny, but he brought a strict discipline to his work. Cork was fortunate to have David in its midst.”

His friends, sopranos Majella Cullagh and Mary Hegarty, will sing at his funeral service at St Finn Barre’s Cathedral at noon tomorrow.

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