Cupcakes & Conversation with Kit Holder, First Artist, Birmingham Royal Ballet

September 18, 2011

Cupcakes & Conversation

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Cupcakes & Conversation with Kit Holder, First Artist, Birmingham Royal Ballet

ballet dancer

Kit Holder Photograph : John Ross

What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning?

Coffee and music.  And another coffee.

Why ballet?

I was rubbish at football!  I have always loved music and dancing is a natural response.  To work with live music every day is one of my greatest pleasures.

Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance?

I’m really looking forward to the first dance at my wedding.

If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance ?

I’d really like Birmingham Royal Ballet to dance in Canada.  My fiancée is from beautiful Vancouver and it is one of my favourite places in the world. The appetite and audience for ballet is massive there so I hope it’s only a matter of time.

What is your daily routine at the moment?

This week my rehearsal schedule is not too heavy so after class I have some time between rehearsals to listen to music and work on some choreographic projects. 

two ballet dancers on stage

Galanteries Natasha Oughtred Kit Holder and Jamie Bond Photograph : Roy Smiljanic

How do you prepare in the hours before a show?

I like to get my headphones on and focus on anything that I need to think about before the show – previous corrections and notes etc.  I’ll also do a warm-up appropriate to the role – maybe a session at the barre or a session on the bike.

What are you looking forward to dancing in 2011/12?

David Bintley is creating a brand new ballet this season (Faster, Higher, Stronger) and I hope to be involved in that.  As a choreographer I love being involved in any aspect of the creative process.

You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite?

Bob Dylan and Nick Drake (to talk song writing and music); Wassily Kandinsky (Russian artist, to talk about visual composition); Raymond Carver and Haruki Murakami (two authors who inspire me on a daily basis); and Alex McCleish (Aston Villa manager).

What would surprise people about you?

I’m actually a serious bunhead, obsessed with ballet. 

Who inspired you to dance?

My two brothers and the Chimney Sweeps in Mary Poppins.

How would someone else describe you?

Depends who you ask…

What is your best piece of advice?

God never gives you a challenge without giving you the tools to meet it.

Which role has tested you the most & how?

The Rite of Spring was a challenge.  We staged Nijinsky’s original choreography a few years ago and learning the style along with the counts was extremely difficult.  I am ashamed to say that there was probably never a show without a mistake somewhere, but that’s live theatre!

What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you?

Falling over on stage at the London Coliseum on a Saturday evening during a duet dressed in furry knickers and a bald cap.

If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create?

Anything but furry knickers!

A phrase I use far too often is …

“If I was Aston Villa manager here’s what I’d do…”

Who would play you in the film of your life?

I often get told my doppelganger is Robert Downey Junior, which flatters me somewhat, and as he’s an actor I’d say he’d do just fine!

What is your favourite quote?

Somebody once asked Ashton how long it takes to make a ballet; “one more week” he replied!  I have always finished choreography on time but I agree with the sentiment!

ballet dancer on stage

The Nutcracker Christopher Larsen and Kit Holder in the Chinese Dance with Lei Zhao as Clara Photograph : Bill Cooper

What’s on your iPod?

A lot!  I’m an avid music collector and I genuinely listen to anything, even if only once.  I’m working on completing collections of all the major classical composers but I also buy quite eclectic music from relatively unknown composers in my search for music to choreograph to.   I’m also a massive Bob Dylan fan and have everything it’s possible to get.

Who would you most like to dance for, and why?

I always enjoy dancing for people who have never had the opportunity to watch ballet before. I also enjoy performing in settings other than the traditional theatre environment.

What makes you a good dance partner?

Being willing to listen and to practice.

Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about?

I’m an aspiring songwriter.  I also speak fluent Brummie!

Describe yourself in just three words.

Dancer. Choreographer. Musician.

In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be this time next year?

Canada, on tour!

This week (September 15th edition) The Stage asked prominent people in the dance world to choose a promising choreographer.  David Bintley, Artistic Director at Birmingham Royal Ballet, chose Kit Holder.  He said, “He’s really at that place where he’s hopefully about to do something of significance.”

Watch one of Kit Holder’s ballets – Moderate Becoming Good 

You’ll also be able to watch some of Holder’s other pieces. 

Do let us know what you think!

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3 Responses to “Cupcakes & Conversation with Kit Holder, First Artist, Birmingham Royal Ballet”

  1. May Says:

    Lol!!! His choreography is enjoyable to watch too.

  2. Val Says:

    Great interview. I love how the chimney sweeps of Mary Poppins were an inspiration for Kit. That was such a great dance number! ~Val