With our Centre for Advanced Training Taster Days and Auditions coming up we thought we’d talk to one of our ex-students Hayley Walker to find out about her CAT experience and how it has helped her pursue a career as a professional performer…


How did you discover the CAT scheme?

I discovered the CAT scheme through a friend who knew people already on CAT Dance City.


What had been your experience of dance before the CAT scheme?

I had been attending RAD ballet and modern classes at a local dance school in Jesmond, I continued to go to this whilst training at CAT receiving an Advanced 2 ballet qualification.


What has the CAT scheme taught you?

Having no prior experience of contemporary dance before joining CAT, the scheme was fundamental in teaching me the contemporary technique in many styles such as Cunningham, graham and release. Over the 4 years I spent at CAT my technique and creative flourished and I ended up moving in ways I never thought I would be able to. Every class was a joy to attend with such invested teachers focused on pushing you to dance the best you can.


Where has the scheme led you so far?

The scheme led me to audition and be accepted into Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance at the age of 16. When auditioning for Rambert School I received endless support with the audition and solo advice from the teachers on CAT. I studied there for 3 years receiving a First Class BA (hons) Degree. Whilst at Rambert I had the pleasure of working with many established choreographers such as Mark Baldwin, Russel Maliphant, Theo Clinkard, Ashley Page and Arielle Alexander. Upon graduating at 19 years old, I then joined postgraduate dance company ‘Emergence’ led by choreographer Joss Arnott in partnership with the University of Salford to receive a MA.


What are any of your future aspirations?

My future aspirations are to join a professional dance company, ideally a repertoire company, touring the UK and overseas. I also want to grow more as a performer, discovering different ways of moving, forever challenging myself to be better. 


What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in auditioning?

My advice for anyone auditioning for the CAT is to relax, enjoy yourself and perform. Show the panel who you are as a person also as that is what makes you different from everyone else!


What impact has the financial support of a Department for Education Grant had on your dancing?

The financial support I received from the department for education grant was great and really supported my dancing throughout the 4 years at CAT. I’m very thankful for the education grant as it allows many students to have access to the best dance training in their local area.


Finally, is there anything else you would like to add?

I loved my time on the CAT scheme and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now without it and the brilliant support from the teachers there. I always used to look forward to the classes there as the teachers want to see everyone improve, I would come out of them knowing that I had worked hard!


The Dance City Centre for Advanced Training is part of the Department for Education’s Music and Dance Scheme offering a contemporary dance training programme for young people from the North East region who are 10 – 16 years of age.


Taster Days:

Tuesday 19 February 2019, 10:30am – 1:15pm
Tuesday 16 April 2019, 10:30am – 1:15pm or 1:30pm – 4:15pm


Audition Dates:

Saturday 18 May 2019, 1pm – 3pm or 3:30pm – 5:30pm
Sunday 19 May 2019, 10:30am – 12:30pm or 1pm – 3pm


To find out more and book your place on either the Taster Days or Audition Dates, please visit www.dancecity.co.uk/learning-academy/ or contact CAT administrator Hannah Marshall at hannah.marshall@dancecity.co.uk