Double amputee dancer known for breathtaking performance at London 2012 opening ceremony dies at 56 – Daily Mail



Douple amputee dancer David Toole, who performed a ballet-inspired routine while being hoisted high above the stadium floor at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, has died age 56.

The death of the performer, who was last year made an OBE for services to dance and to people with disabilities, was confirmed by the Leeds-based Slung Low theatre company.

Toole died in hospital in the city earlier this week.

Double amputee David Toole, who performed at the 2012 paralympics, has died age 56

His breathtaking 2012 routine saw Toole being hoisted high above the stadium floor

Jenny Sealey, artistic co-director of the London 2012 Paralympics opening ceremony, said: ‘Dave was so many things, our darling, wonderful, opinionated, glorious, silly, funny, kind, sexy, loving and wise friend.

‘The most unique and leftfield man ever and funny beyond words.

‘And of course, an extraordinary performer and a unique brilliant dancer.’

Toole was born with sacral agenesis, meaning his legs did not develop properly, and he had them amputated when he was a young child, according to the BBC.

During the Paralympics opening ceremony he gave a solo performance which saw him hoisted into the air high above the dance floor.

His film credits include the The Tango Lesson and Amazing Grace.

He also performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Toole pictured in 2014 with Stopgap Dance Company at Sadler’s Wells, London

During his career, Toole also performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and on screen

Alan Lane, artistic director of Slung Low, said: ‘We are all so sad to hear of Dave Toole’s passing. It was such a privilege to make so many adventures with him.

‘He had an extraordinary talent; he was a brilliant actor and the very finest dancer we’ve ever seen.’

Toole’s death was also confirmed by the London-based Candoco dance company, which frequently brings together both disabled and non-disabled performers.

Their artistic director Charlotte Darbyshire said in a statement that Toole was an ‘exceptional dancer whose outstanding presence and performance changed the dance world’.  

Born without working legs, David Toole spent his early twenties working as a postman. 

But in his late 20s, the double amputee – who stood 3ft 2 inches tall – taught himself to dance on his hands. 

Renowned for his remarkable power and grace, he once said: ‘How would I describe my body? Interesting.

Toole was born without working legs and became a double amputee at 18-months-old

‘I like my arms, I like my hands, and after that I start running out of options really.’ 

He was born with legs that were crossed underneath him.

At 18-months-old, a decision was made to amputate his legs in order to give him easier mobility and thereafter walked on his hands or used his wheelchair.  

Toole performed his dance alongside singer Jasmine van den Bogaerde, then a 16-year-old schoolgirl from Hampshire, but now more widely known by her stage name, Birdy.

After leaving school, Toole worked as postman in Leeds for a decade, before plucking up the courage to follow his dreams and do a dance workshop in his late twenties.

The experience helped him overcome his intense shyness and his new career blossomed.

He was spotted during the first CandoCo dance workshop and invited to join the company.

After a year’s dance training at the Laban Centre Laban in London he spent five years touring the world in a wide range of shows.

In later years, he also joined DV8 Dance Company and the Graeae Theatre Company.