A spritely and friendly face in our village is Sir Jon Trimmer. He was born into a creative family in Petone in 1939. Jon started learning ballet at age 12 at his sister’s ballet school, studied art at Wellington Technical College, then had a stint doing art in advertising. In 1958 he joined the New Zealand Ballet Company where he worked until he left to study overseas. Jon met his wife Jacqui when they were both teenaged dancers in the Company.
Jon studied for a year at the Royal Ballet School in London but much preferred performing, and then spent two years with Sadler’s Wells. In 1970 Jon returned to the New Zealand Ballet, becoming their principal male dancer, celebrated for his lifts and high leaps. In those days it was a smaller company which did a lot of touring to smaller centres. For 8 years the Trimmers’ cat Tomas toured with them. Jon and Jacqui have danced with both the Australian Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet and the American Ballet Company of New York. Jon has performed with Dame Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev, Erik Bruhn and many of the world’s top dancers.
Among the many roles Sir Jon has danced are Petrouchka and the role of Albrecht in Giselle. He is a master at the character parts he still dances, such as Captain Hook in Peter Pan and Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet.
Jon has also acted, playing the part of Edgar Marwick in Peter Sharp‘s 1986 movie Undercover Gang and in 1986 was nominated for the best actor award for a role in the TV series Fireraiser. In 2002 and 2003 he performed with Helen Moulder in her play Meeting Karpovsky which has been revived for his 80th birthday.
Sir Jon has just retired from dancing with the RNZB but will certainly go on performing for us one way or another. The Trimmers have had a home in Paekākāriki for 30 years. They both paint, do pottery, garden and enjoy their cats.
Sir Jon Trimmer is patron of the Paekākāriki Station Museum Trust.