William "Bill" Orlowski
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ORLOWSKI, William "Bill" —

Passed away suddenly on October 22, 2016. A talented and creative performer, who created Canada's National Tap Dance Company, as well as his "Shoes with Wings." Bill had suffered for the last several years with a devastating and crippling disease 'Dystonia' (an inherited degenerative form of Parkinson's). He bore this affliction with courage and humour, turning his efforts to increase understanding of its effects (a particularly cruel condition for this talented and internationally celebrated tap dancer) and trying to raise funds for his treatment. Beloved brother of David (Colleen) McCombs, Jennifer (George) Dannewald and Michael (Christina) Orlowski. He will be missed by his numerous nieces and nephews, and his many friends in the World of Dance. Friends may call at the Turner & Porter "Neweduk-Erin Mills" Chapel, 1981 Dundas St. W., Mississauga (just east of Erin Mills Pkwy.) on Monday, October 31, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service at 11:00 a.m. For those who wish donations may be made to the Toronto Western Hospital for Dystonia Research. Online condolences may be made through www.turnerporter.ca



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Published in Toronto Star from Oct. 27 to Oct. 29, 2016.
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Memories & Condolences
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9 entries
November 2, 2016
Bill possessed a dancer's courage and a poet's heart - a very rare combination in my experience. You will be missed but not forgotten.
Scott Smith
October 30, 2016
A visionary; a choreographer, performer, an artistic director and teacher who has performed a modern miracle in forging the art-form of tap' dance onto the Canadian dance and theatre scene and consciousness: This is William Orlowski. His hallmarks were; authenticity of premise, daring realization, and exuberant quality of execution. Such impressive credits; creatively, intellectually, historically, and progressively all the more so for the personal herculean challenges that he tackled with untold wisdom and courage.

I had the privilege of working as a dancer guest artist, in Bill's National Tap Dance Company - with memories of the experience - as stretching my abilities - and - as sheer Fun! Also, Bill and I shared adjudication duties at the Kiwanis Festival in Stratford. I was struck with his talent in communicating lessons in tap technique and performance. I watched the rapt faces of the students to his every word and demonstration, and I too learned so much!

Most exceptional was the example that Bill set of his breadth of work, and his determined insistence that there be a future for the Canadian story and execution of tap-dancing - as a flourishing and respected choreographic form.

He was a man of soul, the soul of gentleness and generosity. I wish to salute and cheer Bill Orlowski's daring and profound ability to inspire all generations of dance-lovers, not only with his work, but with his own example of how to turn life's blows into challenges met with bravery. I left the ballet in 1989 and have always said; once a dancer always a dancer' - for no-one is this a more apt description - than for William Orlowski, a dancer for all time.
VERONICA TENNANT, C.C.
October 29, 2016
Bill was a true friend for over 30 years. A talented creative and gentle man, knowledgeable about his own art of the Dance as well as all aspects of 'Show Business'.He had a wonderful and unique career, which was sadly abreviated by the crippling affliction of Dystonia. Although this hampered him, physically, he never seemed to lose his inner grace and spirit, until the end. His pain and suffering are over, the memories of his talent and the joy of his performances will linger, for there was no one quite like him.
Michael Noon
October 27, 2016
One of the most talented men I've known
I remember watching you on tv dance for president Ronald regan,seeing you dance with the WSO here on one ofyour visits
The laughs the hugs the smiles I will hold dear
Fly high uncle Bill
Karen Seymour
October 27, 2016
We are so sad to hear of the loss of Bill. We met Bill through Barry about 10 years ago in Vancouver at a tribute to him for his contributions to the world of dance. Bill was a talented, gracious and kind person and we enjoyed our time with him. We will always remember him with a twinkle in his eye and smile on his face.

We had many visits while he was in Vancouver and our trips together to New York and La Conner with he and Barry were happy and fun times! We will miss him very much and consider ourselves fortunate to have known him.

Larry Koo & Randi Weiss
Larry/Randi Koo/Weiss
October 27, 2016
With Liza at the 'Wrap Party' for the film 'Stepping Out'
A finer Gentleman one could ever know!!! Bill was kind, thoughtful,gracious,bearing gifts to friends just because, and a delight to be with, and a brilliant classical tap dancer, in the company of other classical tap genius's I have known...Paul Draper and Tracy Everett. It was devastating and so unfair, so much more so as his body was his instrument. Bill lived with dignity with the cards he was dealt. A great loss to the entertainment world. G-d Bless. Rest in peace and free of pain.
Linda Cable
October 27, 2016
A person that departs from this earth never truly leaves, for they are still alive in our hearts and minds, through us, they live on. Please accept our condolences, Bill will not be forgotten. He was a special person.
With heartfelt sympathy

Sharon and Keith
October 27, 2016
I let too many years go by without keeping in touch -- had heard about Bill's health problems, but it's still a shock to learn that we have lost him. Sympathy and prayers for all his many family and friends, students who learned from him and enjoyed his joy in dance, and thousands who watched from a distance in greatest admiration. So many memories of younger days for all of us! Up the stairs to the Hoofers Club!
Claudia (Sommers) Brown
October 27, 2016
My deepest sympathy to Bill's family and friends. He was a gentle, caring soul- an artist of tremendous integrity and a lover of beauty and nature. I will keep him in my memories.
Suzette Sherman
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