Centre for Advanced Training (CAT)

Dance City CAT

COVID-19 Update – Online CAT Auditions to be launched Monday 1 June.  Please see Dance City CAT – Get Involved section below.  Any questions please contact Hannah Moreno at hannah.moreno@dancecity.co.uk

COVID-19 Update for current CAT Students, Parents and Guardians:
Important Dance City CAT Information and Update from Neville Campbell

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 week day 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 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 technique, 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.
  • Organised 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.

Dance City CAT – Get Involved

2020 CAT Auditions – Online Audition Process (Launching Monday 1 June)











Since March 2020 we have been closely following the Government guidance regarding the Coronavirus pandemic. We were unsure at the time how the situation would evolve, however as we progress through the weeks we have considered all of our available options to ensure the safety of everyone engaging with the CAT, as well as providing opportunities to young people across the North East.

The proposed new dates for the CAT auditions were Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 July and as an organisation we have carefully consider the strategy recently outlined by the Government and as a consequence of many discussions it is with regret that we have decided to not hold the auditions in person this year.

However, we are delighted to announce that we will be launching an Online Audition Application Process on Monday 1 June as we are committed to offering opportunities on the CAT to the talented young dancers from across the region. The online application process will have a different structure to our in person auditions, but we will ensure that the aims, ethos and outcomes of the process are the same.

The new Dance City CAT Online Audition process will be as follows:

  • Monday 1 June: Launch of Online Audition Process including information documents and footage about the CAT, as well instructions for the Online Audition content and how to submit an application online.
  • Friday 19 June: Deadline for Online Audition submissions.
  • Monday 22 June: We will contact all applicants regarding the outcome of their submission and we will invite successful applicants to a Zoom/Telephone Interview on either Saturday 27 or Sunday 28 June.
  • Saturday 27 or Sunday 28 June: Zoom/Telephone Interviews with CAT Applicant, their Parent or Guardian and a member of the Dance City CAT Staff (Interview times to be arranged)
  • Week Commencing Monday 29 June: We will contact applicants regarding the outcome of their Interviews.

We are conscious that the Online Audition Application Process does require applicants to have access to technology at home and we are very understanding of the complexities and parameters that there are on making footage at home. We want to assure you at this stage that we are not seeking footage of a professional quality and we will do all we can to support applicants to access the audition process this year. We will be publishing more advice and guidance on this when we launch the information on Monday 1 June.  

On Monday 1 June we will be publishing the CAT Audition Process here on the website, however if you would like to receive the information directly on email, then please register you interest by emailing Hannah Moreno at hannah.moreno@dancecity.co.uk

If you have already applied to attend a 2020 audition you should have received an email notification regarding the changes to the CAT Audition Application process this year, however any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Hannah on hannah.moreno@dancecity.co.uk



2020 Taster Day and Boys Workshop – CANCELLED

The proposed new date for the CAT Taster Day and Boys Workshop was Sunday 14 June and as an organisation we have carefully consider the strategy recently outlined by the Government and as a consequence of many discussions it is with regret that we have decided to not cancel the CAT Taster Day and Boys Workshop this year.

The Taster Day and Boys Workshop offered an opportunity for young people to engage with dance at Dance City and find out more about the CAT and what life as a CAT student is like. We are delighted to announce that we are going to be moving our Taster Day Presentation Information Online and we will be holding our CAT Audition Application Process online also so we hope that this still gives you a similar experience and the chance to access the CAT this year.

To find out more about the 2020 CAT Online Audition Process then please see the information above.

If you had already applied to attend the Taster Day or Boys Workshop re-scheduled for June 2020 then you should have received an email notification of this cancellation, however any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Hannah on hannah.moreno@dancecity.co.uk


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 on 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:

Dance City CAT – Alumni

The Dance City CAT are immensely proud of all of our Graduating Students.  Over the years we have had students successfully audition and gain a place at many Dance Training Institutions, we have included some of them below:

  • Rambert
  • London School of Contemporary Dance
  • Trinity Laban
  • Northern School of Contemporary Dance
  • Sunderland University
  • London Studio Centre
  • Hammond

Esmée 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.


Image by James Keates

Holly Swann

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 class mates I met and got creative with in the studio. My time on the CAT and the people I met will always have a place in my heart.

Contact Information

For all queries related to the Centre for Advanced Training please contact Hannah Moreno (Interim CAT Coordinator):

Email: hannah.moreno@dancecity.co.uk
PLEASE NOTE: At this time Dance City Staff are working remotely so only available via email.