What is the CAT?

The Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) offers high-quality dance training to young people aged 10 – 18 years with exceptional talent and potential in dance. The CAT is part of a national programme supported by the Department for Education’s Music and Dance Scheme. You can find out more about the National Centres for Advanced Training in Dance at www.nationaldancecats.co.uk.

Students who attend the CAT are from all backgrounds from across the East of England, and both non-experienced and experienced young people join the programme each year.


The Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) is an intensive programme which is suited to those who are ready to make a commitment to intensive training and those who may aspire to pursue a career in dance.

The purpose of the CAT is to prepare young dancers for full-time professional dance training and includes tuition in five key areas:

  • Technique (Ballet & Contemporary)
  • Creative Dance and Choreography
  • Performance
  • Dancers’ Health and Wellbeing
  • Enrichment Activities (theatre trips, collaborative projects and workshops)

Students attend two mid-week classes (Ballet and Contemporary) and a full-day at the weekend (Ballet, Contemporary, Health and Creative). This is approximately 8 hours of dancing a week.

The curriculum gives a strong basic grounding in technical and creative skills, as well as introducing students to the wider dance profession, enabling all students to apply to a range of dance colleges, conservatoires and universities with a broad set of skills.


Each year several projects lead towards performances in various regional events at DanceEast and beyond.

Our students perform each year in DanceEast’s Studio Theatre in the Centre for Advanced Training End of Year Show. They have previously performed in local, regional, national and international venues such as The State Ballet School of Berlin, Royal Opera House, South Bank Centre, Norwich Theatre Royal, St Martin in the Fields and Snape Maltings.


  • Alexander Whitley
  • Arthur Pita & Valentina Golfieri
  • Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures
  • The Royal Ballet
  • Gecko Theatre
  • Richard Alston
  • Hofesh Shechter Company
  • James Cousins
  • Avant Garde
  • Joss Arnott
  • Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre
  • 2Faced Dance Company
  • Tim Casson
  • Jasmin Vardimon Company
  • Protein Dance

Classes take place at the Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich on Sundays (Saturdays for Introductory Level), with mid-week evening classes available in Ipswich, Norwich & Cambridge. In certain circumstances it is possible to tailor a more individualised programme for those who may have difficulty travelling to one of the CAT classes during the week.  All students also take part in Easter and Summer Intensives, often with leading dance artists, giving them a varied and rich experience of what it is to be in a professional creative process.


Students receive an Individual Training Plan (ITP) to aid their development and highlight personal goals and needs. ITP’s are devised in consultation with parents/carers and CAT Tutors to monitor and support the student’s learning. This ensures that every effort is made to encourage a healthy balance between academic work, dance training and family life.


Before you apply to join the CAT, we highly recommed that you find out more about the programme by taking part in an Taster Day and/or an Open Event.

Taster Days, where you’ll have the opportunity to take part in dance classes, take place each year during February half term. Open Events, where you can see the DanceEast CAT students in action, take place each year in March.

Entry onto the CAT is by audition. There is usually a two-stage audition process during the Summer Term for new applicants to join the programme the following accedemic year.

cat@danceeast.co.uk | 01473 295 234



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