Kit holder

068 Kit Holder on the art of performance

This week’s guest is Kit Holder, first soloist at the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Kit has spent his whole career dancing, he came from a family of dancers, he went to the Royal Ballet School and has performed at the highest level on stage and now is a choreographer for the Birmingham company.

There’s a number of interesting angles that I took from this interview, one that he is working to the direction of a new boss the world renowned Carlos Acosta – finding out how the style, manner and expectation change with the new direction. Kit also shares an interesting hurdle he had to overcome where a particular routine and section caused a real performance blocker for him and how he overcame this limiting inhibition. Fascinating still how this experience has propelled him to study more about the psychology of performance. Kit also shares his insights into choreography, nurturing others, directing, inspiring and co-creating works with other dancers.

We’ve always been super keen to learn from diverse fields. Sport is not the reference point for all things performance – that’s something I’ve learnt since we set Supporting Champions up and begun applying performance thinking to business, education and the performing arts. To that end we’ve featured, west end stars, military commanders, television presenters in our interviews and there is always something ratifying about the convergence of ideas from parallel fields. This episode does the same.

Show notes

Prior to lockdown Kit was performing with the Birmingham Royal Ballet in Swan Lake

  • How COVID-19 affected the rehearsals, performances, classes and training.
  • Kit observes his motivation during the first few weeks of lockdown
  • Balancing road cycling and ballet
  • The specifics of training for ballerinas and maintaining performance
  • The film, ‘Alone Together’
  • Challenging audiences with performance
  • Dancing for a digital audience
  • Kit’s experience of dancing as a child and following in his brothers’ footsteps
  • From the Royal Ballet School to the Royal Ballet Company
  • Kit set his sights on specifically wanting to work at The Royal Ballet School
  • The inherent desire to dance
  • Ballet dancers aesthetic
  • Physical performance and psychological skills
  • Choreography
  • Choreography of a jazz improvisation and the realisation of the bigger components that allow a ballet company to function
  • Kit’s learnings about choreography
  • The ability to admit you were wrong
  • What’s next for kit?


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Dr Steve Ingham is one of the UK’s leading figures in sport and one of the world’s leading performance scientists. He is steeped in high performance and has been integral to the development of Britain into an Olympic superpower. He has provided support to over 1000 athletes, of which over 200 have achieved World or Olympic medal success, including some of the world’s greatest athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. Steve has coached Kelly Sotherton's running for heptathlon and to 4x400m Olympic medal winning success. Steve has worked at the English Sports Council British Olympic Association, English Institute of Sport, where Steve was the Director of Science and Technical Development, leading a team of 200 scientists in support of Team GB and Paralympics GB. Ingham holds a BSc, PhD and is a Fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Steve is author of the best selling ‘How to Support a Champion: The art of applying science to the elite athlete’, discussing and inspiring the importance of learning and adapting to reach our maximum potential. Steve established Supporting Champions with the ambition of helping ambitious people to find a better way of creating high-performance. Steve hosts the Supporting Champions Podcast on sharing his pursuit of understanding and exploration in performance.

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