Centre for Advanced Training (CAT)

About the CAT
Contemporary Programme
Street Dance Programme
Fees and Funding
Workshops & Auditions
CAT Staff Profiles
Guest Artists on the CAT
CAT Alumni
FAQs
Current CAT Student Information
CAT Parents Feedback
Schools Workshops
Contact Us

Dance City CAT Contemporary & Street Programme

Want to find out more about the CAT or thinking about applying this year? Come to a free taster workshop this spring!

Click here to book onto a CAT Contemporary workshop.

Click here to book onto a CAT Street Dance workshop.

Click here to book onto a CAT Boys workshop.

 

 

What is the Dance City CAT?

Dance City’s Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) is part of the Department for Education’s Music and Dance Scheme offering Contemporary and Street Dance training to young people across the North East.

We are part of a national network of 11 organisations delivering a breadth of dance education across the UK. More information about the National CAT’s programme can be found at www.nationaldancecats.co.uk

Our mission is to inspire and empower gifted and talented young people to fulfil their dance and creative potential.

The Dance City CAT Contemporary programme is based in Newcastle and the CAT Street Dance programme is based in Sunderland. Applicants need to be aged 10 – 16 to apply for one of our programmes and once registered as a student, can continue training up to age 18.

The Dance City CAT provides a welcoming, professional and passionate environment, which enables individuals to thrive.

[CAT is] such a great learning experience and has the ability to boost you into a career of dance, but also you can take with you so many things that will help you in any sort of industry or in any aspect of life. – Dance City CAT Alumni, Daisy

Why choose Dance City?

With over 30 years of expertise, Dance City is the leading organisation for dance in the North East. Dance City’s vision is that people will have happier, more fulfilled and healthier lives. To achieve these ambitions, it proactively welcomes and encourages everybody to engage with dance by delivering high quality community dance classes, employment-focused higher education courses and tailored support for dance artists.

 

Department for Education

National CAT Logo New

 

 

CAT Contemporary Programme

All Dance City CAT Contemporary students receive:                                                         

  • Induction at the start of CAT training
  • Minimum of seven hours dance training per week during term time
  • Classes take place at Dance City in Newcastle City Centre, with the option to attend weeknight technique classes in Darlington.
  • Weekly classes taught by industry professionals.
  • Classes cover Contemporary Techniques, Ballet Technique, Body Conditioning, Creative Movement and Choreography
  • Workshops with leading dance companies and artists
  • Previous workshops have been delivered by Blue Makwana, Joss Arnott Dance, Kate Coyne, Lewis Major Projects and VOXED.
  • Two, week-long, intensive workshops each year during school holidays, led by renowned guest choreographers
  • Opportunities to perform in the 240 seat Dance City Theatre
  • Theatre visits to see a wide range of professional dance companies
  • Previous theatre visits include works by Aakash Odedra, balletLORENT and Matthew Bourne.
  • Personal mentoring, progress reports and Parents Days
  • Health and wellbeing support including physiotherapy and guidance counselling
  • Advice and guidance on progression routes after CAT training.
  • Full costume is provided by the CAT for any performances and students receive two pairs of free ballet shoes per year to support their ballet classes.

Check out the video below to find out more about being a student on the Dance City CAT Contemporary Programme…

CAT Street Dance Programme

All Dance City CAT Street Dance students receive:    

  • Induction at the start of CAT training
  • Minimum of seven hours dance training per week during term time
  • Classes take place at The Fire Station in Sunderland City Centre
  • Weekly classes taught by industry professionals.
  • Classes cover Street Dance styles, Contemporary Technique, Body Conditioning, Creative Movement and Choreography. Classes focus on a different street technique each term and previous styles have included breaking, hip-hop, popping and locking, vogueing and whacking.
  • Workshops with leading dance companies and artists
  • Previous workshops have been delivered by Break N.E, Conor O’Kane, Harriet Carr, Holly Irving and Southpaw Dance Company.
  • Two, week-long, intensive workshops each year during school holidays, led by renowned guest choreographers
  • Opportunities to perform in the 240 seat Dance City Theatre
  • Theatre visits to see a wide range of professional dance companies
  • Students have attended events such as Just Jam, Motionhouse and Mean Teens.
  • Personal mentoring, progress reports and Parents Days
  • Health and wellbeing support including physiotherapy and guidance counselling
  • Advice and guidance on progression routes after CAT training.
  • Full costume is provided by the CAT for any performances.

 

Check out the video below to find out more about being a student on the Dance City CAT Street Dance Programme…

 

 

 

 

Fees and Funding

There is no charge to attend a Dance City CAT workshop or audition.

There is a cost to attend the CAT programme should you successfully audition and gain a place.

The Dance City Centre for Advanced Training is financially supported by the government’s Department for Education (DfE) as part of their national Music and Dance Scheme.  The fee structure for CAT training is set nationally by the DfE.

An example is given in the table below of the fees to be paid for 2023 – 2024 depending on the annual household income:

 

                                                               

Financial Support

Department for Education Grants

Families whose earnings are below approx. £72,000 are eligible for Department for Education means-tested funding to cover all or part of the yearly cost of CAT tuition, as detailed in the table.

The Dance City CAT provides full information and support to apply for DfE funding.

As part of this application process, approx. £2,156 will be deducted from your total household income for each child living with you as a dependant (including the child who is enrolling in the programme) before the financial assessment is made.

Please Note: The DfE may make slight adjustments to the fees and grants structure each year.  The information on this web site is accurate at the time of publication and any adjustments for the following academic year will be minimal.

 

Tuition Fee Payment Plans 

Dance City offer a range of payment options and plans for any families contributing to CAT tuition fees. Payments can be made in full at the start of the year, in 3 equal termly instalments or in 10 equal monthly instalments throughout the year. Individual payment plans can be arranged upon request.

 

Additional Support 

Tuition Fee Bursaries

Dance City has a small fund available to offer bursaries towards CAT tuition fees. The bursaries will be awarded by application only and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis upon successful entry on to the programme.

Sibling Discounts

If two or more siblings attend the Dance City CAT, a tuition fee discount is provided.

Travel Expenses Claim

CAT students who travel 15 miles or more from their home to CAT classes can receive support to cover their travel costs, regardless of the method of transport used. All students are eligible to apply irrespective of whether they are in receipt of a DfE grant.

Ballet Shoes

All Dance City CAT Contemporary students receive two pairs of ballet shoes for free to support their ballet classes.

External Funding

The Dance City CAT can provide information to families who wish to seek for financial support from local funding bodies.

CAT Workshops and Auditions 2024 - 2025

Taster Workshops (10-16years)

Attending a FREE CAT Taster Workshop will help you find out more about what it is like to be a student on the CAT, help you decide whether or not you are ready for the commitment of the programme and if you want to apply for one of the open auditions.

Contemporary Programme

The Taster Workshop will consist of a half an hour observation of current CAT students taking class, a 1½ hour contemporary class followed by a short break and then a 30-minute presentation about the CAT for both parents and students to attend.

This year’s contemporary taster workshops are taking place on:

Click your chosen session to book your place!

Street Dance Programme

The Taster Workshop will consist of a half an hour observation of current CAT students taking class, a 1 hour class followed by a short break and then a 30-minute presentation about the CAT for both parents and students to attend.

This year’s Street Dance taster workshops are taking place on:

Click your chosen session to book your place!

‘I wanted to thank you and everyone else involved in yesterday’s taster day for such a brilliant experience. [Student] was absolutely buzzing after the workshop, and it was so well organised. Thank you so much for making it such a great day.’

Boys Workshop (10-16years)

Dance City is offering a one-off amazing experience aimed at boys* who are aged 10-16. A dance workshop led by teachers from the Dance City Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) to give participants an insight into the wonderful world of dance and some of the training involved in becoming a first-class performer.

We welcome participants who are both beginners and those with experience.
*We welcome all participants who identify as male.

The day is about sharing practice and ideas with experienced dance teachers who will be delivering a mixture of dance styles. At the end of each workshop there is a question-and-answer session for participants and their parents or guardians to attend.

This year’s Boys workshop is taking place on:

First Stage Open Auditions

Open auditions are held in the summer each year for entry in September to both of our CAT programmes for anyone aged 10-16years. Applicants must complete and return a CAT Audition Application Form (click to download) to reserve a place on their preferred audition date.

First Stage Auditions for 2024 entry to the CAT Contemporary programme (Newcastle) are taking place on:

Saturday 18 May 2024
1pm – 3pm or 3:30pm – 5:30pm
Sunday 19 May 2024
10:30am – 12:30pm or 1pm – 3pm

First Stage Auditions for 2024 entry to the CAT Street Dance programme (Sunderland) are taking place at the Fire Station, Sunderland on:

Sunday 26 May 2024, 1pm – 3pm.

You will receive confirmation of your First Stage Audition place when we have received your audition application form.

You will then be sent a link to access a video of a movement phrase which will be taught at the audition. You are welcome to learn this phrase in advance of the day however, this phrase will also be taught and broken down within the audition session as well.
It is not a requirement to learn this phrase in advance.

The deadline to apply for the Contemporary Programme is …
Successful applicants will be invited to a Second Stage audition on either Saturday 8 June, Sunday 9 June or Saturday 15 June.

The deadline to apply for the Street Dance Programme is ….
Successful applicants will be invited to a Second Stage audition on Sunday 16 June.

If you would like to audition but are unable to the audition dates listed above for any reason, please get in touch.

For more information regarding CAT  Workshops or Auditions, please contact CAT@dancecity.co.uk

CAT Staff Profiles

Sofie Scholten

Centre for Advanced Training Coordinator

Sofie has worked in arts administration for the past 7 years - you might recognise their face from their previous role on the Dance City ticket office. They are responsible for supporting the day to day running of the CAT programme. They enjoy dancing in their kitchen and sometimes in non-professional dance projects. They care about inclusive, equitable art spaces and workplaces. When not at Dance City, they are community organising, gardening and rollerblading.

sofie.scholten@dancecity.co.uk

Ellie Trow

Centre for Advanced Training Coordinator

Ellie is a professional dance artist based in the North East. She is co-director of Pelican Theatre as well as being a freelance performer and dance teacher. Ellie started her dance career on the Lowry CAT scheme in Manchester before training at Trinity Laban and then moving to Newcastle to join The Collective company.

She is passionate about working with children and young people and is keen to assist those interested in dance to find their own passion. Ellie enjoys meeting new people, being in the countryside and spending time with dogs!

ellie.trow@dancecity.co.uk

Geoff Hopson

Centre for Advanced Training Creative Teacher

Geoff trained at the Laban Centre gaining a degree in Dance Theatre, and has since worked as a dancer, choreographer and educator. Performance credits include: Transitions Dance Company, David Massingham Dance, Second Nature, balletLORENT and TDI performance and Repertoire Company. Through a dance commission programme with both Transitions and TDI he has worked with choreographers Liv Lorent, Richard Alston, Aletta Collin, Rui Horta, Mark Murphy, Della Davidson, Charlotte Vincent, Colin Poole, Ben Wright and Vertigo Dance Company. He has also co-run his own project based dance company Jointworks, developing an interest in film and media work. Geoff has a MA in Dance Professional Practice from Teesside University.

Juliet Thompson

Centre for Advanced Training Ballet Teacher

Juliet trained at Rambert School, London and has been a performer ever since. She has danced for David Massingham, Debbie Purtill Dance, Emma Diamond Dance, Northern Stage, and joined balletLORENT in 2003 as a permanent company member. Juliet teaches Ballet for the CAT.

Anthony Lo-Giudice

Centre for Advanced Training Teacher

Anthony is a contemporary dance artist based in the North of England. He trained at Newcastle College and then went on to complete further training at the S.e.S.T.A program in Prague and the Royal Ballet School. As a dancer, he has worked with notable artists and company’s such as Neville Campbell, Antonello Tudisico/Colletivi NADA, and the UBISOFT Just Dance franchise, amongst others. Anthony is also director of Lo-Giudice Dance, a regional small-scale dance theatre company which tours both nationally and internationally to countries including Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Sweden and Iceland. As a teacher, Anthony is a regular tutor on the Dance City CAT program. He has also taught for The Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Zelyonka Fest in Ukraine, YDance (Scotland’s National organisation for Youth Dance), Dance Base, ArtGarage Pozzuoli, Interno5Start in Naples, The Royal Ballet School and The Royal Opera House.

Rosie Macari

Centre for Advanced Training Teacher

Rosie has worked as a performer, teacher, and choreographer. Originally from Newcastle, Rosie started dancing at the Dance City Centre for Advanced training, before progressing her training by completing a First Class BA Hons at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Rosie began her performing career working for Chantry Dance Company, Southpaw, Fully Booked Theatre, Neville Campbell, and State of Grace. Most recently, she has toured nationally and internationally with Motionhouse Dance Theatre, performing to thousands of audiences across Australia, South Korea and throughout Europe. Alongside performing, Rosie delivered many workshops ranging from the repertoire, technique classes, and audition toolkits. She has taught and choreographed work on youth company’s, students, and school groups. She was part of a collaborative production titled ‘Talk to the Waves’ in 2015, which was chosen to be performed in the annual Texas Grand Slam poetry event in Houston Texas as a guest performance. Rosie currently teaches technique and creative sessions for the Centre for Advanced Training

Molly Procter

Centre for Advanced Training Teacher

Molly Procter is a freelance dance artist based in Newcastle upon-Tyne. She achieved 1st class honours in Dance and Choreography at Northumbria University and during this time she also studied in New York to train with Risa Steinburg at the Limon Institute.

With over 15 years professional dance experience she has worked with many companies including Dodgy Clutch, Appetite Dance Productions, State of Grace. She performed as a soloist for Surface Area Dance Theatre and Company of Others and is currently working with Lo-Giudice Dance.
Molly has worked within the education department at Dance City, delivering workshops and classes for over 7 years. She is inspired by physical theatre techniques within dance and strives to implement them in her teaching, helping encourage clear intentions and narrative behind movement.

Caroline Reece

Centre for Advanced Training Teacher

Since completing her training at The Urdang Academy and The Laban Centre, Caroline went on to teach and perform with Nexus Dance Company, Emma Diamond, Felix Ruckert, Gary Clarke and Dance For Camera projects with Wendy Houston & Nigel Charnock. As part of Northern Stage Ensemble, she performed in “Peter Pan”, “The Black-Eyed Roses”, and toured in “Animal Farm” directed by Alan Lydiard.
She has taught at Newcastle College, Northumbria University, the Centre for Advanced Training (2012-2014), coached for Billy Elliot, was Rehearsal Director for Verve 2010-2011 at NSCD and directed 9-5 The Musical! at University of Cumbria.
She has been a performer with balletLORENT since 1996, appearing in most of their productions to date and in 2019 gained an MA in Contemporary Dance (LCDS) and completed her Dance Science Training to teach People with Parkinson’s.

Image Credit: Luke Waddington

Cora Jay Williams

Centre for Advanced Training Teacher

Cora-jay Williams is a dance artist based in the North East, performing, teaching and creating her own work. After graduating in 2016, Cora-jay went on to work and tour with an array of dance theatre companies and teaches in both a community and professional setting. Cora continues to perform and strives to keep updated on happenings in the dance industry so that she can help teach and inspire emerging dance artists.

Michaela Wate

Centre for Advanced Training Teacher

Michaela began dancing with TinArts at Dance City, Newcastle when she was a teenager. She then moved on to train with the Centre for Advanced Training until 2009, which led to her completing an apprenticeship with the CAT, 2011.

She went on to complete 4 years of training at The Scottish School of Contemporary Dance, Dundee achieving a BA (Hons). It was during this time she established and choreographed for Duka Dance, a performance company that toured the UK and South Africa.

During her work with Duka Michaela gained a strong interest in social action and community development projects. She started working with Wellbeing Challenge CIC in 2015, where she trained in delivering Resilience, planning and organising family activities and delivering a programme of healthy activities following the Five Ways to Wellbeing framework.

She was a company dancer for KaSt Dance Company, Aberdeen between 2014-16 performing in 4 works. Her performance work also includes projects with Debbie Harbin's,The D Project, in which Michaela has danced in Solas Fae and the recent #Steam. She also taught at Dance City as a BA Tutor of African Dance for the degree programme.

Michaela now works teaching contemporary techniques and choreographing on the CAT programme at Dance City.

Image: Tom Banks

Emily-Fleur Peake

Centre for Advanced Training Teacher and Assistant

Originally from Royal Wootton Bassett, Emily-Fleur graduated from Trinity Laban in 2019 with a First Class, BA (Hons) in Contemporary dance. She moved to Newcastle to be part of Dance City’s postgraduate physical theatre company, ‘The Collective’, in which she gained an MA in Advanced Dance Performance with Distinction. During this time, she had the opportunity to work with David Lloyd, Gecko Theatre and Lost Dog.

At the start of her career, Emily is keen to follow her passion for performance, whilst giving back to the dance community by teaching and nurturing young talent; “I am very grateful for the opportunity to work and inspire such amazing young dancers whilst being mentored by an amazing team to help me grow as a teacher. Dance City is an incredible environment where every artist can make a difference, and I am grateful to be a small part of it.”

Alex Ledger

Centre for Advanced Training Teaching Assistant

Alex has been dancing since the age of three and started her dance career on the Dance City CAT scheme in 2013 before progressing on to train on the BA (Hons) in Professional Dance, also at Dance City. As a young dancer, Alex has worked with many dance artists and companies such as balletLorent, Neville Campbell, Joss Arnott Dance, Anthony Lo-Giudice and Vanhulle Dance Theatre. She has recently graduated from The University of Sunderland and Dance City in Professional Dance and is ready to adventure in freelance life. Currently a freelance performer and dance teacher, Alex is inspired by all of her former dance teachers – she is intrigued by each of their unique styles and extensive career paths and is eager to experience the breadth of the dance world.

Amy Becke

Centre for Advanced Training Teaching Assistant

Amy started dancing from a young age, training in various styles. She first engaged with Dance City in 2014 as a public class attender and has taken classes ever since. In 2016 Amy moved to train at Ballet West Scotland where she toured with the International touring company in Malaysia, in 2019 she graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) in Dance and Performance. She then went on to train with Ballet Cymru for a year on their Pre Professional Programme where she had the opportunity to tour with the company in 2020. During her time at Ballet West and Ballet Cymru Amy assisted the outreach programme teachers with their Ballet and Contemporary classes. In October 2020 Amy decided to return to Dance City full time to study her MA in Advanced Dance and Performance. This last year Amy has had the opportunity to perform works by David Lloyd of Mischief Company, Alleyne Dance, Joe Hufton and Southpaw Dance Company; in August she graduated her Masters in Advanced Dance and Performance with a Distinction. After graduating Amy had the opportunity to create new work with Robby of Southpaw Dance Company, 'Acedia' was performed as a Motion Capture performance at the Antheum in Sunderland. Amy is currently working for Northern Stage as an Usher, she is also a content writer for the Help for Dancers app, writing articles to inspire change and promote healthy minds for dancers. Since graduating Amy has been teaching for dance schools around Newcastle as well as teaching her own online weekly '80's Dance Fitness class'. Amy also teaches Ballet as a Dance City public class as well as assisting the teachers on the CAT programme.

Jonny Curry

Centre for Advanced Training Teaching Assistant

Jonny is a freelance physical theatre artist based in the North East, with a background in both acting and dance. He graduated with a First Class MA in Advanced Dance Performance at Dance City in 2021 and previously trained at Newcastle College, Live Theatre and Theatre Royal Newcastle. Jonny has worked with a number of local artists including Southpaw Dance Company, Abbott Dance Theatre, Mischief Company and The D Project. Most recently he has performed in the regional tour of ‘Hedge’ with The D Project, a children’s dance theatre piece about a hedgehog on his adventures through the wilderness, where Jonny played the titular hedgehog. Jonny is very passionate about character theatre and dance. As well as performing, he is deeply interested in teaching and has vast experience of offering dance workshops to children and young audiences.

Image Credit - Erin Hughes

Jess Hill

Centre for Advanced Training Teaching Assistant

Jess is a contemporary dancer from the North East who began her journey as a student on the Dance City BTEC programme and CAT in 2013. Jess continued her training on the BA Hons at Dance City graduating with first-class honours. During her time on the CAT and BA, Jess had the opportunity to work with various choreographers such as Gary Clark, Regina Wielingen, Renaud Wiser, Neus Gil Cortez and Neville Campbell.
Jess is currently continuing her training on the Dance City postgraduate MA course as part of ‘The Collective’ Company, working with Lucy Suggate and Victor Fung on a double bill which tours in late 2022.
Following her passion for developing technique and performance, Jess also teaches public classes at Dance City, inspiring and nurturing young talented dancers to achieve their goals and fulfil their potential, whatever their future pathway.

Keith Hill

Centre for Advanced Training Musician

Keith Hill is a freelance musician who plays Cuban percussion, vibraphone, piano and drum kit. He has performed in over twenty countries in the last twenty years. He has written music for dance, short films and Street theatre. He studied religious and secular music in Cuba, jazz vibraphone in Ireland and has a BA in music. He has been a resident musician at Dance City for fifteen years, playing (and occasionally teaching), for their CAT and Degree programmes.

Brian Duffy

Centre for Advanced Training Musician

Francois Lewis

Centre for Advanced Training Physiotherapist
MSc, BSc, MCSP, HPC

Francois graduated with a BSc degree in Physiotherapy from the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa) and holds a M.Sc. Manipulative Therapy degree from Glasgow Caledonian University.  His 26 years of experience include working as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist, both in private practice, sport and the NHS and lecturing on both pre- and post-graduate musculoskeletal physiotherapy courses. He regularly assesses, treats and advises patients with complex musculoskeletal conditions. His special interests include functional rehabilitation of all sport and musculoskeletal injuries, aiming to improve a client’s health through better movement.  His experiences as a therapist have led him to believe that specific, individualised care consisting of excellent communication, hands-on treatment and functional exercise is essential if you want to achieve the best possible outcome.  Francois says he is looking forward to the opportunity to work with CAT Students and helping them achieve their goals. 

Julie Fenwick

Centre for Advanced Training Student Guidance Counsellor

After training to be a Nursery Nurse, Julie set up and ran her own day nursery looking after children from 6 weeks to 5 years old. Whilst having a career break to have her second child she completed her teacher training.

From there she began working at Gateshead College teaching on a range of courses including, Childcare, Health and Social Care, Crèche work and Teaching Assistant.

During her time at Gateshead College she was a tutor who had responsibility for the pastoral care of 200 students each year. This involved group tutorials, 1-1 tutorials and any other support requested by a student. Her area of expertise is extensive and includes issues with self-esteem, eating disorders, bullying, course work, relationships, finance and the general problems associated with growing up to name but a few. Her remit was not always to solve the problem but to support the student to find their own solution through listening and discussing the issue.

She is very much looking forward to working with the students at Dance City, supporting them with any issues they may have, to ensure their emotional wellbeing.

Sofie Scholten
Ellie Trow
Geoff Hopson
Juliet Thompson
Anthony Lo-Giudice
Rosie Macari
Molly Procter
Caroline Reece
Cora Jay Williams
Michaela Wate
Emily-Fleur Peake
Alex Ledger
Amy Becke
Jonny Curry
Jess Hill
Keith Hill
Brian Duffy
Francois Lewis
Julie Fenwick

Guest Artists on the CAT

John Robinson

John began dancing at any early age and was part of the Royal Ballet Mid Associate Program for 2 years and the Dance East Centre of Advanced Training for 6 years. He then went on to attend northern School of Contemporary Dance, graduating with a first-class degree.

Following this John went onto complete a master’s degree during which he was the apprentice for 2Faced Dance Company, touring in their triple bill ‘Everything [but the girl]’, performing works by Tamsin Fitzgerald and Fleur Darkin across the UK.

Upon completing his master’s degree, John worked with Sababa Company, Roisin Whelan Dance and Vinicius Salles. His show repertoire with 2Faced Dance company includes: 7.0, The Qualies, The Box of Delights, POWER, Last Orders, Where All Paths Lead, Lungs of our City and our new upcoming show Fish boy.

Lisa Marie Robinson (Joss Arnott Dance)

Born and Raised in the Northeast, I, Lisa Marie Robinson, joined the CAT when i was 16 years old. I then went on train at Rambert School, where I worked with many professional artists and choreographers such as Richard Alston, Alleyne Sisters, and Akram Khan Company.

After my training there I then joined Emergence 23, Joss Arnott’s postgraduate company at the University of Salford. Where I had the pleasure of working with Flockworks, Anthony Missen and Joss Arnott to create work for a national tour.

Since graduating I have also started my freelancing career joining Southpaw Dance Company for their Autumn 23 tour of Speakeasy, as well as other companies and artists such as, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance and Joss Arnott Dance.

Akiem Toussaint Buck

Akeim Toussaint Buck is an interdisciplinary performer and maker, born in Jamaica and raised in England. Graduating from The Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 2014, Akeim began creating his own work in 2016 with the intention to create moving, thought provoking, accessible and free-spirited projects.

Exploring a variety of themes that challenge, enlighten and entertain audiences in a visceral way by calling on multiple art forms to weave a spectacle. Audiences are invited to not just observe, but to feel the experience. The work aims to reflect on the past, present and hopeful future of our reality, looking at ongoing socio-political issues, with a humanitarian intention.

Akeim's work has been supported by Yorkshire Dance, Leeds Playhouse, Leeds Inspired, Geraldine Connor Foundation, The Arts Foundation Futures Award, IRIE! Dance Theatre, Spin Arts, RJC, Deda, Fabric, Streatham Space Project, Serendipity, NSCD, Sadlers Wells and Arts Council England etc.

Kate Coyne

Born in London, Kate Coyne trained at the Royal Ballet School and London School of Contemporary Dance, from where she graduated into London Contemporary Dance Theatre under the directorship of Robert Cohan, and later joined Rambert Dance Company with the appointment of Christopher Bruce as Artistic Director. Working as a freelance artist, Kate danced with Michael Clark Company for over 15 years from 1997 to 2012, before returning to the company in 2016 as Assistant Director. As a dancer, she has also appeared with DV8, Jeremy James and Dancers, Martha Clarke, Arthur Pita, and Mark Baldwin Dance Company, and has worked on various film and photographic projects. Since retiring from dance in 2012 Kate has held roles as Producer of Frieze Projects and Programme Director, Siobhan Davies Dance, assuming the position of Associate Director at Michael Clark Company in 2017.

Image Credit: Jake Walter

Harriet Carr

Harriet has been a professional dancer, choreographer and teacher for the last 5 years. Harriet graduated from the University of East London in 2018 with a 1st class hons degree in Dance: Urban Practice. She then went on to perform with the all female Hip Hop company, Myself UK Dance, which she performed with all over the UK and internationally. Harriet taught throughout various places in London, including Pineapple Studios, Studio 68, Rambert and taught at Move IT 2018. Harriet has experience in teaching all Street Dance styles including, Hip Hop, Locking, Breaking, House and Wacking and has taught all levels, ages and abilities. With over 6 years experience of performing and teaching in London, Harriet made the move to Newcastle and now owns her own Street Dance company and continues to teach and choreograph.

"Working with the CAT students is incredibly rewarding, all students are eager to learn and put all their energy into all the tasks I provide. I’m very passionate about keeping Street styles alive, I will always continue to teach foundational roots of the styles and endeavour to pass my passion onto the next generation of the North East"

Social Media @harriem

Image credit: Sophie K Photograghy

Maya Carroll

Maya graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance with a First Class BPA(Hons) degree in 2018. Maya continued her training with Verve, the postgraduate performance company at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, graduating with a Distinction as well as being awarded the ‘Overall Achievement in Professional Practice Award’ for her year in the company. Throughout her training, Maya had the opportunity to work with artists such as Ben Wright, Maxine Doyle, Joan Clevillé, Noa Zuk, Jamaal Burkmar (Extended Play Dance) Ben Duke, Gavin Coward and Francesco Scavetta. Since graduating, Maya has worked as a freelance dancer in projects with a variety of artists including Jamaal Burkmar (Extended Play Dance), Petri Delights for Resolutions 2020, Douglas Thorpe (Mad Dogs Dance) and Rod Dixon (Red Ladder Theatre Company), Matthew Robinson, Night People Events, Ruby Portus as well as Wilhelmina Ojanen and Amy Voris as a part of Mobius Dance.

Social Media @mayarosecarroll

Richard Chappell

Richard Chappell is an internationally renowned choreographer. Since 2013, Richard has lead his own ensemble Richard Chappell Dance as a platform for his choreographic research and critically acclaimed performance work.

Based between Wales and the South West of England, Richard is currently a commissioned artist for Swindon Dance and Associate Artist at Exeter Northcott. Prior to this, Richard was a Resident Artist for Dance in Devon and Discovery Artist at Pavilion Dance South West.

Richard's creative process is rooted in collaboration, co-authorship and emotional connectivity. Richard also loves to work in community settings, creating ambitious choreography for large intergenerational community casts with organisations such as Dance Blast, Dance in Devon and Torbay Culture.

As a guest choreographer, Richard has created work for renowned dance companies and theatres, including the Royal Opera House, Stuttgart Ballet, BalletWorks, English National Ballet, Belfast Ensemble, Transitions Dance Company and Frontier Danceland (Singapore). For institutions, Richard has created works for Rambert School, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Singapore) and Chichester University.

Focusing on contemporary technique, improvisation and choreography, Richard has guest lectured for renowned course, including Rambert School, ArtEz Institute of the Arts (Holland), Lasalle College of Arts (Singapore), Singapore School of the Arts, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Bath Spa University and Tring Park School.

As a community dance artist, Richard has five years of experience working as an inclusive arts facilitator and support worker for ROC Creative, alongside delivering regular workings to young people with learning difficulties, through Lifeworks and Dance in Devon. Richard works regularly with young people through organisations such as One Dance UK, National Youth Ballet and the Centre of Advanced Training programmes at Dance City, Swindon Dance and DanceXchange.

Social Media @ richard.chappell.dance

Image Credit: Faye Tan

Linden Dance Company

Linden Dance Company was formed by Christopher Radford and Sara Macqueen, after 10 years of artistic collaboration and successful individual performance careers. Chris and Sara draw on their different backgrounds and cultural identities to bring a diverse voice and perspective to the productions they create and the spaces they occupy. This is underpinned by their creative practices, in professional environments and community/education settings, and supported by psychologists, counsellors and athletic trainers.

Linden Dance’s movement language is athletic, explosive and draws on Contemporary/Afro-fusion movement styles.

Linden Dance have been supported by Arts Connect, Arts Council England, HomeGrown31 to research, develop, and facilitate high-quality dance experiences that champions physical athleticism and emotional wellness.

Linden Dance is committed to:
Positivity: Being positive and approachable so individuals can thrive and feel seen
Individuality: Championing individual perspectives, backgrounds and creative voices
Empowerment: Providing spaces that allow people to appreciate their strengths and own voice.

Photo Credit: Anthony Shintai

Social Media @linden.dc

Jennifer Essex

Jennifer is a performer, choreographer, and teacher. Originally from Canada, she has created works for stage, screen, and the outdoors across the UK and North America. Her bold theatrical language and rare eye for detail and subtleties have won her commissions and awards including from Arts Council England and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Social Media @fullybookedtheatre

Image credit: Phil Hill

Peter Groom

Peter trained at Guildford School of Acting graduating in 2013. Since then he has worked as both an actor and performer in the UK and internationally: Nur Du Tanztheater Wuppertal, MEAT Schaubühne Berlin, One Side to the Other, Akram Khan Company.

Alongside performing, Peter began to make his own work, working mainly with dance and theatre. He was supported as artist in residence at BatterseaArtsCentre, received commissions from IdeasTap to create a short dance film screened at the BFI in 2015 and became Associate Artist at DanceCity Newcastle in 2016. He was also commissioned by Random Acts North to create dance film ‘Herd’ which premiered on Channel 4 television.

Social Media @petergroom

Yue Ying Ho

British born Yue Ying Ho is a performer, creator, and dance artist- aiming to deliver high quality and captivating performances.
Yue Ying joined Joss Arnott Dance Company in 2021 and will be touring their new piece, Tin Man, spring 2022.
Yue Ying completed her MA Dance: Performance and Professional Practices under the artistic direction of Joss Arnott as part of EMERGENCE; touring new works by Joss Arnott, Becky Namguards and Kevin Edward Turner (Company Chameleon).
Yue Ying began her training at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, graduating in 2020 with a First-class BA Honours in contemporary dance.
Since finishing her training, Yue Ying has been working with Kapow Dance Circus Theatre and HAWK Dance Theatre- touring nationally. Growing up in Swansea, Wales, Yue Ying started her training with Pamela Miller Ballet School, County Youth Dance Company, National Youth Dance Wales and National Dance Company Wales: Associates.

Social Media @yueyingho_dance

Holly Irving

Holly Irving is an experienced performer, teacher and movement director, who has always been passionate about how dance and theatre can be used to educate, inspire, rehabilitate as well as entertain a diverse range of audiences. After graduating from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Holly sought to use her skills to promote the amazing possibilities in dance, working in hospitals, prisons, secure training units, specialist schools and with refugees and migrants. Some of Holly’s previous work includes: Rugby World Cup, The Great North Run, Moving Parts (puppetry festival) Derby Theatre, Lyra (Edinburgh), Vamos Festival, Tutti Frutti Productions and Open Clasp Theatre Company ‘Key Change’ (Best of Edinburgh Award and Fringe 2015.

Social Media @hollysmovement

Lewis Major Projects

Lewis Major is an award-winning australian choreographer, director and creative entrepreneur with a background in sheep shearing and a foreground in contemporary dance theatre.

He honed his skills in dancemaking over a decade spent working with seminal contemporary dance makers Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant, Hans van den Broeck (Cie Soit/Les Ballets C de la B), Hofesh Shechter and Aakash Odedra amongst others. Unabashedly audience driven, the ethos that drives his work is local focus, global outlook.

His company Lewis Major Projects presents surprisingly real dance works in multiple mediums to diverse audiences across the world, having created 17 different works both independently and on commission and having presented them on 6 continents to widespread critical acclaim.

Social Media @lewismajorprojects / @majorle

Blue Makwana

Blue is a London based dancer, choreographer, movement director and teacher specialising in Contemporary and Jazz dance techniques, Commercial Dance, Musical Theatre and Choreography. She is a currently a dancer in the production ‘He’s Dead’, choreographed by Malik Nashad Sharpe aka Marikiscrycrycry.

Alongside performing, Blue also teaches Contemporary technique, Commercial, Jazz technique and Musical Theatre at The Urdang Academy, Bird College, The Place, Emil Dale Academy and Trinity Laban (Musical Theatre Department).

Blue’s aim is to utilise the vast training she has gratefully received by fusing the multiple styles she works with, to create intricate and physically challenging work for her dancers. Blue is making versatile work which focuses on an array of subjects. At the core of Blue’s work, the goal is to ensure her dancers can utilise the training they have received, apply it to performance and push their bodies to work hard and with effort.

Social Media @bluemakwana

Livia Massarelli

Livia Massarelli is a dance artist interested in performance, choreography, teaching and dancers wellbeing. She has performed internationally in works by choreographers such as Dora Frankel, Shobana Jeyasingh, Tony Adigun, Allen and Karen Kaeja, Emanuel Gat and presented her choreographic works in various international festivals in Italy, United Kingdom and Portugal.

Conor O' Kane

Conor 'Doke' O' Kane is a founder member of the award-winning Battle and Theatre group – Bad Taste Cru. Originally from Northern Ireland, Doke travelled to the UK in 2005 to become a professional B boy / Artist / Teacher.

Doke's passion is teaching and helping inspire young people to be the best version of themselves.

In 2007, at Dance City, he created Just Jam Intl (one of Europe's most revered Breaking Battle events) to inspire his students - 'Battalions Crew'.

Doke has been teaching Breaking in the NE for over 17 years, some of his students have danced on BBC's Young Dancer, in National Youth Dance Theatre Company, and won major national breaking titles.

“I believe breaking & the arts can change lives. It changed mine” - Doke

I want students to come away feeling more informed, more capable and more confident in themselves and their ability. I hope my teaching methods empower students to take ownership of their dance and creativity whilst making them feel more connected to the local street dance community.
“If we want to build anything that will last, we must begin with the foundations” - Doke.

Social Media @conorok

Thomas Page

Thomas Page (He/They) is an independent dance artist based in Oxford, and the Artistic Director of Thomas Page Dances. An Associate Artist of Swindon Dance, and the Old Fire Station Theatre their practice includes choreographing, teaching, facilitating, and occasionally performing. In addition to their professional practice, they have
recently begun a research masters at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance.

Social Media @thomaspagedances

Image Credit: Jazzula Donaghue Photography

Wayne Parsons

Wayne Parsons is a director, choreographer, movement director and facilitator with over 20 years of experience working in the dance and theatre.

Wayne graduated from London Contemporary Dance School before embarking on a performance career that spanned 13 years working for some of the world’s leading dance companies and choreographers. During his time as a performer he worked with National Dance Company Wales, Sydney Dance Company, Richard Alston Dance Company, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance and many more.

Since establishing VOXED Wayne has guided the company through multiple indoor and outdoor creations through his collaborative and inclusive approach. VOXED have since been the recipient of multiple grants and commissions. He has secured partnerships with organisation across the UK including The Place, East London Dance, Swindon Dance, Stephen Joseph Theatre and Pavilion Dance South West. Wayne has secured commissions for VOXED’s work from organisations like BBC Arts, One Dance UK and Arts Council England.

Social Media @wearevoxed

Image credit: Camilla Greenwell

Giacomo Pini

Giacomo is a London-based queer Dance Artist, performer, maker and yoga teacher. After completing his BA in Contemporary Dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, he was selected to be part of EDge Postgraduate Dance Company at London Contemporary Dance School, where he graduated in 2017 with a Masters degree in Performance. As a performer, Giacomo collaborated on a wide variety of dance productions, from experimental film and photography projects to site-specific and stage work with different companies such as Eliot Smith Dance, Dora Frankel Ensemble, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, Hannes Langolf, Mathieu Geffré and others. As a maker, he is particularly focused on gender and queer research and enjoys a collaborative, inclusive and multidisciplinary approach.

Oliver Russell

Vanhulle Dance Theatre’s Co-Artistic Director Oliver Robert Russell completed his vocational dance training at London Contemporary Dance School and was one of two selected to represent the school in the AKX Pilot programme (Akram Khan). Oliver has performed for a range of companies and choreographers such as Rosie Kay Dance Company, Victor Fung Dance Company, Room2Maneouvre, Mickael Marso Riviere and Vanhulle Dance Theatre. Oliver began his journey into movement studying the classical Korean Martial Art Tang Soo Do, under the World Tang Soo Do Association. Oliver actively competes and has won an array of medals ranging from regional to World Championships. During his lifetime Oliver has trained in a range of styles, including Capoeira, Kung Fu, Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Oliver also lived and trained intensively in the Shandong Province, China, studying Shaolin Kung Fu under the instruction of 34th Generation Shaolin Warriors.

Social Media @vanhulledt @oliver_robert_russell

Chloë Smith

Chloë Smith (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist and all year round sea swimmer.

Chloë makes work that is influenced by choreographic practice, intimate performance, dance, durational work and studio based theatre. She is always unsure what form her next work will take, allowing fluidity and inviting a questioning of disciplines.

Her practice is firmly rooted in the body and its connection to landscape, place and other people. She works with softness, honesty and generosity.

Working across art forms and settings, Chloë has worked in care homes, parks, empty buildings, studio spaces, galleries, schools, old shops, and on the beach. She loves working with people of all ages, in communities, and creating spaces that can begin conversation.

Social Media @chloesmithmakes

James Southward

James Southward (1989) is originally from the North East of England and studied at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance (2009-2012). Upon graduating, he was the recipient of the Carole Woolridge award for outstanding performance and went onto work with choreographers Janis Claxton, Simon Birch, Gary Clarke and Tamsyn Russell.
James joined Scottish Dance Theatre in 2016 under the direction of Fleur Darkin. There he had the opportunity to perform pieces by and work with choreographers Damien Jalet, Sharon Eyal, Anton Lachky, Colette Sadler and Fleur Darkin. Most recently he has worked with local North East companies Ballet Lorent, Southpaw Dance Company and Lo-Giudice Dance. James also joined Teac Damsa led by Choroegrapher Michael Keegan-Dolan for the creation of Olivier award nominated show “MÁM” which is currently touring
internationally.

Social Media @jimbz1

Image credit: Cherriesonfire

Laura Vanhulle

Laura moved to the UK in 2006, to complete her BA(hons) degree at Northern School of Contemporary Dance and was selected to undertake an apprenticeship with Shobana Jeyasingh(Counterpoint). She has since maintained a successful career performing for a diverse range of companies and choreographers, including Mickael Marso Riviere, Oliver Robert Russell, Coda Dance Theatre, Keneish Dance Theatre, Sonia Sabri Company, Room2Manoeuvre, Autin Dance Theatre, Ace Dance and Music, Gary Clark, Gustavo Oliveira, Southpaw Dance Company and James Wilton. Laura has a strong teaching reputation nationally and
internationally. Laura established Vanhulle Dance Theatre in 2014 and has choreographed a range of indoor and outdoor works. Laura studies the Korean martial art Tang Soo Do under the World Tang Soo Do Association. In July 2022 she represented the Great Britain Team at the WTSDA World Championships in the USA, winning 3 gold medals in the brown belt females division.

Social Media @vanhulledt @lauravanhulle

John Robinson
Lisa Marie Robinson (Joss Arnott Dance)
Akiem Toussaint Buck
Kate Coyne
Harriet Carr
Maya Carroll
Richard Chappell
Linden Dance Company
Jennifer Essex
Peter Groom
Yue Ying Ho
Holly Irving
Lewis Major Projects
Blue Makwana
Livia Massarelli
Conor O' Kane
Thomas Page
Wayne Parsons
Giacomo Pini
Oliver Russell
Chloë Smith
James Southward
Laura Vanhulle

CAT Alumni

Daisy Dancer

How did you discover the CAT scheme?
Back when I was about 11 years old, I used to do a class called audition prep class, where dancers ranged in ages, and I was definitely one of the youngest. I was thinking of joining the FTP (foundation training programme) when one day Geoff, one of the CAT teachers, came in to watch class and at the end approached me with a "you've been scouted!" card. I went to the audition and the rest is history.

What had been your experience of dance before the CAT scheme?
From a young age I took part in ballet and tap classes, completing graded exams in both of these styles. A little bit later in life I started going to classes at Dance City as recommended by a family friend and began dancing in a class called Girls Only, which was essentially hip hop for young girls. I also then started taking part in a contemporary class at Dance City where I think I found the joy of storytelling and portraying different emotions, which I hadn't really done before. This all then lead me to the CAT scheme where I continued to learn and love expressing these things.

Where has the scheme led you so far?
So far since the CAT scheme I am really happy to say I have completed a degree in contemporary dance at The Place in London and successfully graduated with a First-Class Honours Degree. While at The Place, I had the opportunity to work with choreographers such as Sam Coren, Renaud Wiser and Liam Francis. I also performed in projects with James Cousins Company as well as Company Chameleon. I am now dancing as part of Verve's 22/23 cohort, working with Jamaal Burkmar, Faye Tan and Kor'sia.

What are any of your future aspirations?
I think as a dancer it's hard to limit yourself to a few aspirations. It feels like since I started contemporary with the CAT scheme that the dance industry has changed and I hope just to build up a portfolio of many projects, exploring a range of different avenues, rather than remaining as one solid artist for the rest of my career. It's more interesting to me this way, to keep expanding my mind and trying new things, pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in auditioning?
I would say go for it. It feels daunting but you realise they just want passionate dancers who are willing to learn. It's such a great learning experience and has the ability to boost you into a career of dance, but also you can take with you so many things that will help you in any sort of industry or in any aspect of life.

Finally, is there anything else you would like to add?
The Dance City CAT gave me many experiences and allowed me many challenges, I learnt a lot about myself, a lot about how I like to move and they pushed me to be the best that I could be. The teachers were definitely one of the highlights for me and they all brought such a uniqueness from person to person and between class styles. If I hadn't been a part of the CAT scheme I wouldn't be where I am today and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity they gave me all those years ago. It will never be forgotten!

Esmee Halliday

How did you discover the CAT scheme?
I discovered the CAT scheme initially through wanting to try out contemporary dance. During a quick visit to Dance City for a leaflet, I was lucky enough to bump into the Head of CAT at reception, providing me with information about the upcoming auditions.

What had been your experience of dance before the CAT scheme?
Before joining the CAT I attended the local dance schools in my area, trying out different styles such as ballet, tap, street and stage dance.

What has the CAT scheme taught you?
The biggest thing the CAT scheme taught me was discipline and dedication. Joining at 12 years old, it was a big commitment for me to dedicate so much of my free time to dance, however, this instilled a really strong work ethic within me which I believe I’ve taken forward, not just into my dance training but into my way of living.

Where has the scheme led you so far?
After my time on the CAT, I continued my training at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Contemporary Dance, achieving a First Class BA (hons) Degree. During my time at the school, I got the opportunity to perform works by many established choroegraphers such as Alison Curtis-Jones, Lizzie Kew-Ross, Marina Collard and Joss Arnott. Upon graduating I was awarded with the Sylvia Bodmer Memorial Fund for Outstanding Achievement in Choreological Studies. I then went on to join the postgraduate dance company ‘Emergence’ led by artistic director Joss Arnott. In partnership with the University of Salford, this course prepares dancers for a professional career in the industry whilst receiving a Masters in Dance Performance and Professional Practice.

What are any of your future aspirations?
I would love to join a professional dance company and tour works internationally. It’s also important to me that I continue growing as a dance artist and find new ways to push myself as performer.

What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in auditioning?
Go for it! My best advice would be to forget about it being an ‘audition’. Try to relax and make sure you enjoy yourself, show who you are as an individual and why you deserve to be there!

What impact has the financial support of a Department for Education Grant had on your dancing?
The financial support from the department for education grant allowed me to gain access to the highest quality training I could imagine. I am very thankful for what is has offered me and continues to offer to young people in the area.

Finally, is there anything else you would like to add?
The CAT scheme was instrumental in setting me up on my career path and I am extremely thankful for the training I received from the most supportive teachers. Over the six years I was there, I made some amazing memories and great friendships. It was definitely hard work, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.

Hannah Hernandez

How did you discover the CAT scheme? 

I discovered the CAT scheme when one of the CAT teachers came into my high school and they did a taster session. I think they did a little bit of a contemporary class and then at the end, she gave some cards out to some students and I was one of the students and I was like this was fun, why not! I then went to the audition and got through!

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

I didn't actually do much contemporary. I did a couple of very basic ballet lessons, and more musical theatre so a lot of freestyling, ballroom, hip-hop. Kind of an all-round experience, not much contemporary at all really.

What has the CAT scheme taught you? 

Oh my gosh, the CAT scheme has taught me so much! I think, the number one thing that I got from it was to just put your all into a class. They really taught me how to be determined and just to be yourself really.

Where has the scheme led you to so far? 

So after CAT, I went on to Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary dance, studied there for three years and I just recently graduated. I did works with Christopher Bruce, Richard Alston, did R&D with Akram Khan and did work with Richard Chappell. That's carried me on to my freelancing job now. I did Infinite Ways Home with Richard Chappell and I'm working with him right now on a new production called Hot House, which will be premiering in Dance City, which is nice. I also went to Spain to do a dance opera job with a company called Metamorphosis and that was fun.

What are any of your future aspirations? 

I don't have a lot, actually. I just want to go where the wind takes me. I want to dip my toes into every, kind of, dance company that I can and see what's best for me and I think rep companies or freelancing is my thing.
I do want to do a lot of performing and I'd also like to travel all around the world. I've done Spain so that's quite nice, but I would want to do like Germany and maybe the US, more of that. Then I'll maybe become a physiotherapist, after my body breaks, haha!

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

I honestly say just do it! It's such a clichéd thing to say, but honestly, like the support you get here is unlike anything else. Also, just be yourself.
Don't act like anyone else, don't look at anyone else in the room, just really shine your light because the people and the teachers will just see you for who you are and you'll be amazing!

Finally, is there anything else you would like to add about your CAT experience? 

I actually just don’t have the words to express my gratitude towards the CAT because I really wouldn’t have got to Rambert or where I am now without it.

Socil Media @hannah.kcj
Image credit: Jack Thomson

Alyssa Lisle

How did you discover the CAT scheme? 
I had been attending a contemporary dance class at Dance City for a few months when I discovered the CAT scheme- I was really keen to push my training from a young age so I signed up to audition not expecting anything at all as I was one of the youngest in the room- and was accepted!

What had been your experience of dance before the CAT scheme? 
I had been dancing from a young age at my local dance school, in ballet, ballroom and Latin American, tap and musical theatre. I had found contemporary dance and creative practices only months before joining the CAT scheme so I was pretty new to the experience, but it was something I was excited to throw myself into 100% and gain the most I could out of everything I was taught.

What has the CAT scheme taught you? 
Resilience, creativity and that hard work really does pay off- among all of the dancey goodness! Over 10 years after graduating from the CAT scheme, you can still find me throwing myself around a studio somewhere. It really was the start of my contemporary dance journey, but I learned so much more outside of dance. I was lucky enough to be taught by some really inspiring artists whose work I still carry with me now. I was taught to be brave, to trust the process and to always be curious- everything that I try to do everyday in my own practice now.

Where has the scheme led you to so far? 
After I graduated from the CAT scheme, I continued onto the BA (Hons) programme at Dance City. Since graduating, I have been freelancing as a contemporary dance performer and facilitator, sharing my love and passion for dance with as many people as possible! I have been invited back to the CAT scheme to choreograph a work, which was a really special moment for me.
I have been lucky enough to work regionally and nationally with various companies and work with amazing people who inspire me everyday. This year, I am a successful recipient of the Arts Council 'Developing your Creative Practice' funding, which means that I am able to spend a year engaging in activities that will develop my artistic practice even more- I feel very grateful for this.

What are any of your future aspirations? 
I am someone who is always finding something new to learn, or to grow into, so my aspirations definitely reflect this! For now, I want to continue pursuing performance opportunities and to make the most out of sharing my creative practice in that way. I want to do this in a way that I can keep engaging with the communities around me and grow my facilitation practice more and more.
I am really interested in combining these two loves, and exploring the idea of rehearsal direction in the future. I want to be able to support professional artists, share my experiences and contribute positively towards the ecology of dance in the future.
What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in auditioning? 
I would say go for it! And more importantly, go into the audition with confidence, enthusiasm and openness. The audition is there for you to show what you are interested and passionate about, and it's not something to be scared of. The CAT team are all fab and will make you feel so welcome, so allow them to see the best side of you.

Finally, is there anything else you would like to add about your CAT experience? 
If you love to be creative, meet new people and be supported by a wonderful team of people, I couldn't recommend the CAT scheme enough.

Holly Swan

How did you discover the CAT scheme?
When I was 14 years old a workshop was held at my high school; St Thomas More RC Academy where I then got invited to the audition day at Dance City. It was led by Martin Hylton who was a teacher on the CAT at the time.

What had been your experience of dance before the CAT scheme?
Before joining the CAT scheme I had trained in Ballet, Tap, Modern, Disco and Freestyle from a young age, but had never had access to contemporary dance before.

What has the CAT scheme taught you?
The CAT scheme was my gateway into contemporary dance. It taught me how to get the most out of my training and how to excel physically in the studio with Ballet technique, various contemporary style classes, Body conditioning and creative sessions per week. Alongside the obvious intense dance training the CAT provides , the CAT taught me how to be courageous and confident as an artist from a young age and to develop a high standard work ethic in the studio in a class atmosphere but also how to present myself when working with professional guest choreographers and how to get the most out of every experience.

Where has the scheme led you so far?
The scheme led me onto gaining a First class BA (Hons) degree at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London in 2017. I then went onto to complete further training in Jasmin Vardimon 2 educational company which is a postgrad company created by leading choreographer Jasmin Vardimon. I am also a contemporary dance workshop leader for Theatre for Life education. I am currently working on a project in Ulm, Germany ‘wild_ grandchild of tree / electric’ with Friedrich Glorian & the heArtLight collective.

What are any of your future aspirations?
I would love to make contemporary dance more accessible to young people in under developed countries.

What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in auditioning?
I would say GO FOR IT !! Go in with an open mind and enjoy the audition and just see what happens and can come from it.

Finally, is there anything else you would like to add?
I would like to thank all the teachers, guest choreographers and classmates I met and got creative within the studio. My time on the CAT and the people I met will always have a place in my heart.

Alex Thirkle

How did you discover the CAT Scheme?

I found about the CAT scheme through my secondary school. They told me about a workshop where people would be picked to audition for the scheme. Although I didn’t even know what contemporary dance was at this point, I took part anyway, and it ended up being successful!

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

Before the CAT scheme I had no knowledge of classical or contemporary dance whatsoever. I was only familiar with hip hop and house styles of dance. Nevertheless, I felt really comfortable in not knowing so much, even in the audition for the CAT scheme because the environment was so nurturing and friendly; everyone has their weaknesses, so it’s about admitting to this in order for a person to grow. It gave me space to learn and develop technically, artistically and emotionally.

What has the CAT scheme taught you?

I could write endless pages about what the scheme has taught me, so it’s really difficult to keep this answer concise. It taught me a lot technically as a dancer and helped to refine who I am. However, obviously not everyone who joins wants to pursue dance as a career - the scheme allowed me to meet the amazing people and allowed me to gain skills which apply beyond dance - especially elements like having a determined mind set; being organised; being creative. It’s important to note how you acquire all of these skills whilst having a good time too - they create the most incredible environment to meet new people and learn new things.

Where has the scheme led you so far?

The knowledge I gained from the CAT scheme led to be audition for dance schools for vocational training. I’m currently a second year student at the Rambert School of Ballet & Contemporary Dance, which wouldn’t have been possible without the skill set I acquired from training at Dance City. It also led to me to discover my own personal movement interests, which has passionately connected me to the watching and performing of contemporary dance. Also, the skill set I acquired from the CAT scheme led me to successfully audition for the National Youth Dance Company, working with Damien Jalet and Sharon Eyal.

What are your furtue aspirations?

I think being present is a better state of mind to have right now, especially with so much uncertainty in the world. In the future I just want to keep dancing and see where it takes me.

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

For people interested in auditioning, just go for it. When auditioning, don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Something which made my experience on the CAT scheme incredible was how different each person in my classes were - from the teachers, to the musicians, to the other people taking the class. They’re not looking for the perfect dancers; they want people are passionate about what they do. One thing I remember from the CAT scheme is Neville Campbell talking about ‘beige’ dancers, which basically means a boring dancer… so don’t be beige.

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

The whole experience is really like a new chapter of a half-written book - it helped me build skills in all aspects of my life: from meeting new people to enhancing my dance technique. The benefits from this scheme are endless and it definitely helped to shape the way I am today.

Image Credit: Nicole Guarino

Hayley Walker

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!

Betty Warnock

How did you discover the CAT scheme?

I discovered the CAT scheme through my friends I used to dance with when I was younger. A lot of them joined the CAT and I also wanted to join because I could see them improving and they spoke of how much they enjoyed it.

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

Before I joined CAT I was doing weekend classes at Dance City in Contemporary and Street Dance – which I had been taking since I was 7. Before CAT I was and continued to be in a dance company called ‘Division’.

What has the CAT scheme taught you?

CAT taught me to work hard and to really strive for what I wanted. My teachers were really helpful and would always push me to try my hardest and not give up. My teachers all gave me amazing feedback not only to help improve my dance technique but to help improve my outlook on dance and my future career.

Where has the scheme led you to so far?

So far I am now currently on the BA in Contemporary Dance at Northern School of Contemporary Dance. CAT helped me prepare for the audition and decide where was the right place for me to further my dance career.

What are any of your future aspirations?

In the future, I hope to complete my Degree and develop my choreography. I hope to be able to choreograph on many different people/groups all over the world and maybe even create my own dance company.

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

Try your best - when you try hard you can exceed your expectations. It’s great training for anyone wanting to do dance as a profession or just to train at a higher professional level.

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

CAT helped me know that I wanted to pursue dance professionally. I wouldn’t be where I am now without help and inspiration from my teachers.

Daisy Dancer
Esmee Halliday
Hannah Hernandez
Alyssa Lisle
Holly Swan
Alex Thirkle
Hayley Walker
Betty Warnock

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How old do I have to be to apply?

To apply and audition for the Dance City CAT you must be aged 10 – 16. Although students should be no more than 16 years of age when they join, once registered they can continue training until they are 18 years of age.

Does it matter if I haven’t had a lot of experience in Dance?

No formal dance experience is required; we are looking for enthusiastic and motivated young people with exceptional potential and an interest in pursuing dance as a career.

I have received a CAT Spotted Card, what do I do next?

The next steps, if you are interested, would be attending one of our CAT Taster Days, which will provide more information about the Dance City CAT, and help you decide if you want to apply for one of the open auditions.

Although receiving a spotted card does not provide any guarantees, it demonstrates that you have shown great enthusiasm for dance in one of our workshops and is something you should be proud of.

How often will I attend classes?

Students receive a minimum of seven hours training.

Contemporary programme students attend two mid-week evening classes and a full weekend day either Saturday or Sunday. A normal week for a Contemporary CAT student would include a weekday ballet class, a weekday contemporary technique class and either Saturday or Sunday, which would include contemporary technique, creative movement and body conditioning.

Street Dance programme students attend one mid-week evening class and a full weekend day on a  Sunday. A normal week for a Contemporary CAT student would include a weeknight street technique class and a Sunday, which would include contemporary technique, street dance styles, creative movement and body conditioning.

Students also attend two intensive, week-long dance workshops each year (during school holidays) with a guest teacher or choreographer.

How will I fit this in with my schoolwork?

All classes as part of the Dance City CAT scheme happen out of school hours. Classes are restricted to weekday evenings and one day at the weekend meaning that you should still have time to do your homework. You will have access to a CAT Mentor and Counsellor, who are able to help you plan your time using an Individual Training Plan (ITP) so that you can fit in both your schoolwork and your dance classes.

What about my current dance classes/school?

Any student who is currently training with another dance provider should ensure that the dance provider is aware that they are/will be taking up a place on the CAT and that all CAT students are expected to attend classes during the week and on weekends. The CAT does not require students to stop attending their current dance provision however, it is important to make sure that there are no timetable clashes and that students are able to balance both commitments. This is an important aspect of a child’s physical and mental well-being and balancing schoolwork with dance training can be very demanding for some students so we advise you to be realistic about how much you can take on at once.

All students and parents/guardians should give serious consideration to their ability to balance their commitments before accepting a place on the CAT and it is the responsibility of parents/guardians and students to discuss this with their current dance teacher. We encourage students to continue with their current dance provider if they are confident that they are able to maintain a positive balance.

What if I can’t make all my sessions during the week?

Individual queries regarding timetabling can be directed to the CAT Manager and best efforts will be made to accommodate any requests made.

What if I don’t know if a career in dance is for me?

Attending the CAT does not mean that you have to pursue a career in dance. The scheme will give you the dance training and information to help you decide if a career in dance is for you.

What do I wear for the audition?

Whether you are auditioning for the contemporary programme or the street dance programme, you are welcome to wear whatever you feel comfortable moving in. All jewellery should be removed, and long hair must be tied back

We have provided some suggestions below:

Contemporary Audition: Leotard/vest, footless tights, ballet shoes or socks. However, if you do not have any dancewear, leggings or shorts and a t-shirt or sports vest will be suitable. You may be asked to remove your socks. Loose clothing is not appropriate as the audition panel needs to be able to observe body alignment.

Street Dance Audition: Vest/t-shirt, leggings, shorts or jogging bottoms, clean trainers or plimsoles with non-marking soles. Dance class may take place in socks, bare feet or trainers.

What will I have to do at the Taster Day and at Audition?

At a Dance City CAT taster day, you will take part in a contemporary or street dance class. You will also observe current CAT students taking the class and both parents/guardians and students will attend a presentation to find out more information about the CAT.
At the audition, you will take part in a short technique class and a creative class (subject to change). Students may be invited to the second stage audition where you will take part in an interview.

What happens if I don’t get through the audition, can I try again?

Yes. We welcome applications from young people who have been unsuccessful in the past and you can apply to audition again as many times as you like.

Can I get any feedback from my audition?

Due to the high volume of student’s we see at the audition, we may not be able to provide individual feedback.

How much does the CAT cost?

There is no charge to attend a Dance City CAT Taster Session or Audition. Should you successfully audition and gain a place on the CAT there is a tuition fee for your training.

Families whose earnings are below £70,000 are eligible for Department for Education means-tested funding to cover all or part of the yearly cost of CAT tuition.

Dance City is also able to offer financial support to some CAT students towards travel costs to attend CAT classes.

For full information on CAT costs, please visit the ‘DANCE CITY CAT – FUNDING AND FEES’ tab.

What is covered by the cost of the course?

The cost of the course includes the provision at the CAT, mid-week and weekend training, theatre trips, intensives with guest choreographers, physiotherapy and counselling support, performance opportunities in the state-of-the-art Dance City Theatre and costumes. In addition, students receive ongoing advice and career guidance and may be offered the opportunity to take part in projects with the National Dance CATs.

Does the course only last for a year?

The Dance City CAT operates in academic years however most students stay on the programme for a number of years. Attendance, commitment and progress are monitored across your time on CAT to ensure you are supported and encouraged to do well. Some decide the Dance CAT is not for them and may leave after one or more years.

Who teaches for you?

The teaching team is made up of teachers and accompanying musicians of the highest calibre as the quality of teaching is paramount to the success of the scheme. Guest teachers are invited to deliver workshops and intensives making the training delivered relevant to today’s dance profession.

Contemporary Programme

Anthony Lo-Giudice – Contemporary Technique / Creative

Rosie Macari – Contemporary Technique / Creative/Ballet Technique

Michaela Wate – Contemporary Technique / Creative

Juliet Thompson – Ballet Technique

Emily-Fleur Peake – Ballet Technique

Geoff Hopson – Creative

Caroline Reece – Creative

Cora Williams – Creative

Brian Duffy – Musician

Keith Hill – Musician

Street Dance Programme

Cora Williams – Contemporary Technique and Pastoral Support

Alex Rowland – Street Dance Technique

Contemporary Students

CAT Contemporary Student Handbook 2023 – 2024 (click to PDF download file)

View CAT Contemporary Term Dates 2023-2024 below.

Street Dance Students

CAT Street Dance Student Handbook 2023 – 2024 (click to download PDF file)

View CAT Street Dance Term Dates 2023-2024 below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Parents Say About The CAT

For students on the Dance City CAT programmes, we prioritise providing professional standard training alongisde hollistic Health and Wellbeing support.  Here is some some of the wonderful feedback we have received from CAT students and their families.

General Feedback

“Students have a mutual bond, they’re like a family”

“It’s confidence building, students don’t feel judged”

“Educational and fun”

“There’s too much peer pressure in schools, [students] have the freedom to express their emotions at CAT”

“A fantastic opportunity with great teaching/teachers”

“An empowering and inclusive family”

“CAT has provided a really great dance education”

 

“We are so happy and just want thank all the team at dance city for making [student’s] love of dance grow each day.”

“I was blown away at how far [CAT student] has came on. Thank you to each and everyone of of you for all the time, advice and kind comments whilst she has been part of CAT. She has loved every moment of her time with you all. She loves to learn and dance means so much to her it is a big part of her life”

“The show was amazing! Huge thanks to all the teachers and staff for making it happen! The CAT programme is just awesome and [student] has gained so much from it.”

“Can I  just say how much I really enjoyed the performances yesterday. The choreography and storytelling was absolutely amazing and I was so engrossed by it all. I can see why [student] loves attending [CAT] so much!”

Health and Wellbeing Programme

“Friendly staff that are very accommodating. They are available when needed and the service is amazing. They have supported my child above expectations and my child feels comfortable and secure around them, which is the most important part.”

“Professional with knowledge of dancers needs.”

“It’s great having this facility and shows how the program care about the whole person.”

“As a parent it reassures me to know there is support in place in case it’s needed.”

“It is a free service that is tailored to the needs of the dancer. It is convenient to attend and my daughter felt comfortable going.”

“Pro-active engagement, expert knowledge and genuine care”

“Very approachable and made her feel comfortable.”

“The support we’ve had has been excellent.”

“Just wanted to email and say a huge thank you. Francois was absolutely fantastic with [CAT student] in not only his knowledge but in making her feel at ease. What a credit he is to your amazing team!”

CAT Outreach Activity in Schools

The Dance City Centre for Advanced Training is part of the Governments Music and Dance Scheme and is funded by the Department for Education (DfE).  We offer FREE dance workshops to schools across the North East region.

These dance workshops are led by a trained dance professional and are specifically geared to spotting students who may be interested in finding out more about the CAT and auditioning to join one of our programme.  All of our talent scouts hold an enhanced DBS certificate.

Dance City Centre for Advanced Training dance workshops are:

  • Offered from September – May each year.
  • Available to young people in Years 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10.
  • Available to all schools in the North East region FREE of charge.

The Dance City: Centre for Advanced Training  looks for young people who display the potential, enthusiasm and commitment required to undertake a high level of dance training.  Students do not need to have had any previous dance experience to take part in a dance workshop in their school.

How can schools book a Centre for Advanced Training dance workshop?

If you are a local school and you would like to book a free Centre for Advanced Training dance workshop please contact:

General Enquiries

CAT@dancecity.co.uk
0191 269 5587

Recruitment Teachers

Tyne & Wear and Northumberland
Michaela Wate
michaela.wate@dancecity.co.uk

County Durham and Teesside
Debbie Harbin
debbie.harbin@dancecity.co.uk

What happens at a Centre for Advanced Training dance workshop?

A talent scout from the Dance City Centre for Advanced Training will come into your school, to observe or teach a one-off dance workshop to a group of students (no more than twenty students per workshop).

Following the session, the talent scout will talk to the teacher about any participants who have displayed potential in contemporary dance or street dance.  The teacher will be given a flyer to pass on to the student about contacting Dance City.

Further information about the Dance City Centre for Advanced Training

The Dance City Centre for Advanced Training is one of eleven Dance Centres for Advanced Dance Training across England. The Dance City Centre for Advanced Training offers professional level, pre-vocational, dance training to talented young dancers aged 11 to 18 years old in the North East region.

The Dance City: Centre for Advanced Training is supported by the government’s Department for Education (DfE) as part of a national Music and Dance Scheme. More information about the government’s Music and Dance Scheme and the National Dance Centre for Advanced Training can be found here: www.nationaldancecats.co.uk 

Contact Information

If you have any questions about the Dance City CAT programmes, our events or outreach, please do get in touch.

For all general enquiries related to the Centre for Advanced Training, please contact CAT@dancecity.co.uk 

Staff Contacts

  • Laura Connolly- CAT Manager (Maternity Cover)
  • Email: laura.connolly@dancecity.co.uk
  • Direct Line: 0191 269 5587
  • Natalie Halaseh- CAT Manager (Maternity Cover)
  • Email: natalie.halaseh@dancecity.co.uk
  • Direct Line: 0191 269 5587
  • Sofie Scholten- CAT Coordinator
  • Email: sofie.scholten@dancecity.co.uk
  • Ellie Trow- CAT Coordinator 
  • Email: ellie.trow@dancecity.co.uk
  • Annie Lewis- CAT Assistant 
  • Email: annie.lewis@dancecity.co.uk