Centre for Advanced Training

Dance City CAT

About the CAT
Funding & Fees
Workshops & Auditions
Staff & Guest artists
Schools Workshops
Current CAT Student Information

Dance City CAT

Dance City’s 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 – 18 years of age.  We are based at Dance City in Newcastle, although students from the south of the region can attend their weekday technique classes in Darlington.

Entry to the CAT is by audition only, and we are looking for young people who demonstrate exceptional talent or potential in contemporary dance.

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.

The Dance City Centre for Advanced Training is part of a national network of CAT’s delivering non-residential, pre-vocational, professional dance training.  The CAT’s were designed to allow students to access high-level dance training and support their development, irrespective of their personal finances and/or circumstances.

More information about the National CAT’s programme can be found here: www.nationaldancecats.co.uk


What can I expect as a Dance City CAT student?

Contemporary dance training at the Dance City Centre for Advanced Training includes:

  • A minimum of seven hours of training, split over three classes per week.
  • The choice to attend your two mid-week classes in Darlington or Newcastle. Mid-week classes cover contemporary technique and classical ballet.
  • All CAT students attend weekend classes at Dance City in Newcastle. Weekend classes cover contemporary techniques, creative movement, and body conditioning.
  • Regular opportunities to perform in the Dance City Theatre.
  • Two intensive, week-long dance workshops each year (during school holidays) with a guest teacher or choreographer.
  • Opportunities to attend workshops with leading dance companies and guest teachers.
  • Organized theatre trips to see leading dance companies.
  • Regular support for the prevention and management of injuries.
  • Termly progress reports from teachers.
  • Individual mentor support and mid-year tutorials.
  • Advice and guidance during the application process for vocational training.


Contact Information

For all queries related to the Centre for Advanced Training please contact:

  • Erica Charalambous – CAT Manager (Maternity Cover)
    • Email: erica.charalambous@dancecity.co.uk
    • Direct Line: 0191 269 5587
  • Kiran Kumar – CAT Administrator
    • Email: kiran.kumar@dancecity.co.uk
    • Direct Line: 0191 269 5577
  • Beth Veitch – CAT Administrator (Part-Time)
    • Email: beth.veitch@dancecity.co.uk


National CAT Logo New

Department for Education

Dance City CAT – Funding and Fees?

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.

Means-tested grants are available to cover the cost of tuition and CAT students who have an annual household income of less than £31,139 will receive their training free of charge.

Tuition fees for CAT students with an annual household income in excess of £31,139 are charged on a rising scale related to income.  Payment plans such as full, monthly, or termly payments are available.

Before assessing your annual household income, £2,114 will be deducted from the final total for each child living with you as a dependant (including the child who is enrolling in the programme).

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.

An example is given in the table below of the fees to be paid for 2019 – 2020 depending on the annual household income:

CAT funding sample

CAT Taster Days and Auditions 2021

We will be holding our CAT Taster Days and First Stage Auditions later this academic year for entry on to the CAT in September 2021.

Taster Days give you the chance to visit the fabulous Dance City Newcastle building where you will observe current CAT students in class, take part in a contemporary class and attend a presentation to find out more information about the CAT*.

First Stage Auditions typically consist of a short ballet barre, a contemporary centre class and a creative class. You may then be invited to a Second Stage Audition where you will take part in another class and may be invited to an interview*.

We will be releasing the dates for these events in the near future, so please keep an eye out on our website and social media pages.

If you would like further information regarding the CAT Programme, Taster Days or Auditions, please visit the CAT FAQ’s or email Erica Charalambous on erica.charalambous@dancecity.co.uk.

*This is subject to change following government guidance during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hannah Moreno

Centre For Advanced Training Manager
Hannah Moreno graduated with a BA Hons in Dance Choreography from Northumbria University in 2009. She then went on to be a member of the graduate company MapDance at Chichester University graduating with a Post Graduate Diploma in Contemporary Dance in 2010. Hannah then went on to work at Dance City as a teacher on the public and CAT programmes as well as on the CAT administration and ticket office teams. Hannah also co-produces a dance platform FRESH based at Dance City and other venues in the North with Rachel Jean Birch.


Kiran Kumar

Centre for Advanced Training Administrator

Kiran graduated from Dance City in 2017 with a First Class BA (Hons) in Dance Professional Practice. Kiran has worked in the North-East ever since in various capacities, including teaching for various schools and public classes, working with SEN students and choreographing works for performance. Kiran has also performed nationally in many works, including Vanessa Grasse’s MESH and has most recently worked with North-East contemporary dance company Fertile Ground on their Twilight Dances tour.

'I am delighted to be working with the CAT team and I am thrilled to be able to support new and current students to achieve their full potential. Dance City is a fabulous place to be and I feel very lucky to be here in such a wonderful capacity.'

Hannah Moreno
Kiran Kumar

Centre for Advanced Training Recruitment 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 contemporary dance workshops to schools across the North East region.

These contemporary 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 the programme.  All of our talent scouts hold an enhanced DBS certificate.

Dance City Centre for Advanced Training contemporary 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 contemporary 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 contemporary dance workshop?

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

General Enquiries

Hannah Moreno
0191 269 5587

Recruitment Teachers

Tyne & Wear and Northumberland
Geoff Hopson

Tyne & Wear and Northumberland
Michaela Wate

County Durham and Teesside
Debbie Harbin


What happens at a Centre for Advanced Training contemporary 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 contemporary 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.  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 nine Dance Centres for Advanced Dance Training across England. The Dance City Centre for Advanced Training offers professional level, pre-vocational, contemporary 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 

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.

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.

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!

Esmee Halliday
Holly Swan
Hayley Walker

Frequently Asked Questions

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; split over three classes per week. This includes two mid-week evening classes and a full weekend day either Saturday or Sunday.
A normal week for a CAT student would include a weekday classical ballet class, a weekday contemporary technique class and either Saturday or Sunday, which would include contemporary technique, creative movement and body conditioning.
Students will 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?

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.

Loose clothing is not appropriate as the audition panel need to be able to observe body alignment. All jewellery should be removed and long hair must be tied back


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 1½-hour contemporary class. You will also observe current CAT students taking 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 ballet barre, a contemporary centre 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 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.

The Department for Education offers means tested grants towards CAT tuition fees, which means the Government may cover part, or all, of the cost of CAT training.

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 above.


What is covered by the cost of the course?

The cost of the course includes 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, costumes and two pairs of ballet shoes a year. 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?

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 one-week long intensives making the training delivered relevant to today’s dance profession.

Anthony Lo-Giudice – Contemporary / Creative Teacher

Rosie Macari – Contemporary / Creative Teacher

Michaela Wate – Contemporary / Creative Teacher

Juliet Thompson – Ballet Teacher

Giulia Coti Zelati – Ballet Teacher

Adam Park – Ballet Teacher

Geoff Hopson – Creative Teacher

Molly Procter – Creative Teacher

Cora Williams – Creative Teacher

Debbie Harbin – Creative Teacher

Brian Duffy – Musician

Keith Hill – Musician


What if I need help to fill in the audition application form?

Please feel free to get in touch with the CAT Manager and we can provide any support you need.


If you have any further questions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Hannah Moreno, CAT Manager at hannah.moreno@dancecity.co.uk

Dance City CAT classes have commenced for the new academic year.

We would like to welcome all new and current students back into the building and we are very excited for the year ahead. We have lots of new measures in place to keep all staff and students safe throughout this unprecedented time and we will be following government guidance throughout the year


Hello and Introduction

Firstly, I would like to introduce myself, my name is Erica Charalambous and I am taking over the role of CAT Manager during Hannah Moreno’s maternity leave.  I am very excited to be joining the team and I look forward to meeting you soon.

I can be contacted via email at erica.charalambous@dancecity.co.uk or via my direct line on 0191 269 5587.  I have been informed that often emails are delivered to junk folders.  Apologies for this as I appreciate the inconvenience this causes, however please do check your junk/spam folders regularly and Dance City are making further efforts to rectify this.

Part-Time CAT Administrator

We are delighted to inform you that Beth Veitch has recently been appointed as part-time CAT Administrator to work alongside Kiran and I. Beth will be joining the team this week and will be a point of contact for CAT parents, guardians and students. Beth’s contact email is beth.veitch@dancecity.co.uk and she will be sending an email out in the coming weeks to introduce herself so please add her to your safe senders list.