The Royal Ballet’s Solomon Golding discusses his abiding passion for ballet and his determination to inspire audiences with his art.
Solomon Golding is an extremely personable young man: polite, intelligent and bursting with self-belief. Extremely articulate, words pour out of him with contagious enthusiasm.
When he smiles – which is often – his eyes shine, be it with amusement, wonder, or the sheer pleasure of talking about ballet.
Oh, and he is also a very talented dancer, at 24 years-old in his fourth season with the Royal Ballet – the first British male mixed-race dancer to break into Britain’s premier ballet company.
“If I’m not doing ballet I don’t know whatever else I’d be doing,” he says, and the mere thought casts a brief cloud over his open countenance.
As a child he was “the little performer: since I could walk I was always dancing around, and I loved music and pop culture.”
Not ballet, though, despite the passion his Scottish Mother’s family had for the performing arts.
“My Grandma really enjoyed opera, had been to the Opera House; and my Mum was in love with Rudolf Nureyev! (…) but we were never interested, we were like ‘oh yeah, whatever, Mum…’”
Then came what he describes as his “eureka moment.”
He was about seven-years-old and his family was living in Ghana, West Africa, at the time.
“There wasn’t much in the way of television, entertainment in the sense that we know it in the West, so if you weren’t outside, there wasn’t really much for us to do (…)
“My grandma [in Britain] used to send over VHS [tapes] that she recorded, like Christmas specials. So, I think it was a Christmas Wallace and Gromit and she left the tape to record the whole way through, and the next thing on was Romeo and Juliet with the Royal Ballet, a Christmas broadcast.
“And I sat and watched the ballet and was like, ‘what is this amazing art form?’”