Working with the DanceEast Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) is incredible. It not only facilitates my personal development but also provides me the privilege of collaborating with an exceptional team of individuals, including performers, students, tutors, producers, officers, and artists, among others. Above all, the core team at DanceEast stands out as an incredibly supportive, creative, and encouraging group to surround yourself with.
My role is extremely diverse, each day brings something different – which is really exciting. On a day-to-day basis, I typically work from our DanceEast Office, and collaborate with the core team, which encompasses the Creative Team, Marketing and Development Team, Finance Team, and the CAT Team. I am fortunate to work closely with our wonderful CAT Manager, Tom, as the CAT team consists of just the two of us. This close collaboration allows us to support each other as well as ensuring the continuous development of the programme. It is a really collaborative environment and one that encourages you to share ideas, opinions and suggestions.
My role centres on the day-to-day running of the programme. This involves maintaining a close relationship with tutors, staff, students and parents/carers who form the CAT programme. Typically, my responsibilities include overseeing programme logistics, such as timetabling, coordinating with artists, planning events and projects, organising recruitment activities, and developing our outreach activity such as our School Workshops. What I really love about this role is how varied each day is.
I also have the opportunity to participate in diverse and exciting projects outside the office, such as Audition Toolkit – where we visit different conservatoires with our Year 13 students on a residential trip, Spring and Summer Intensive – where our students work with national and international artists to create performance pieces for the End of Year Show, River Stage – travelling to London with some of our students who got the opportunity to perform at National Theatre River Stage and lots more, providing such a rich and varied experience. The role also allows me to attend theatre performances, both at DanceEast and other venues. A big highlight was attending Michael Keegan-Dolan’s: ‘MÁM’ at Sadlers Wells – it was amazing and a definite ‘pinch me moment’.
While the excitement and rewards of the work are evident, it’s crucial to highlight the remarkable young individuals I have the privilege of meeting and working with through my role. The CAT students are truly extraordinary, and this role not only involves working with established dance artists but also nurturing the potential of our future artists. There is a pastoral element to this work, involving support for young people aged 10-18. Witnessing young individuals succeed and reach their full potential is exceptionally rewarding. One of my proudest moments was observing a CAT student, who I had supported pastorally throughout the year, shine on stage during the CAT End of Year Show—an inspiring and beautiful moment. This role offers the opportunity to be part of the creative future, an aspect that I find truly amazing.
This particularly comes to light on our main training day, or as we like to call it, a ‘CAT Sunday’. CAT Sundays are one of my favourite days. You get to witness the training in action, see the students in their classes and offer that key pastoral support when it’s needed. It’s also one of my favourite days as we get to see some of our wonderful tutors who are a massive part of this role. Their energy definitely makes those early starts on a Sunday so much more enjoyable.
We also have guest workshops where really exciting artists come to the building to deliver classes to our students, some recent companies include 2Faced Dance Company, Far From The Norm, Avant Garde and so many more!
On Sundays, I am the main point of contact for all students, artists, guests, and parents/carers; I often am on the ground, in and out of the studios, rather than at my desk, for me this makes the day fly by and the work we take part in is always exciting. We have our wonderful CAT Support Team, who assist with the running of the day. Once again, it’s the collaborative effort of our exceptional team that truly makes these days!
Undoubtedly, the best aspect of the DanceEast CAT lies in its commitment to fostering the creative potential of young people. The programme not only imparts artistic skills but also instils a sense of confidence, resilience, and self-discovery in the students. Witnessing their growth, both artistically and personally, is truly the highlight of my role. The CAT serves as a nurturing ground where young artists are encouraged to explore, take risks, and express themselves authentically. The dedication to inclusivity and diversity is amazing, the team actively welcomes individuals from various backgrounds, fostering an open learning environment. This commitment to inclusivity ensures the DanceEast CAT is a melting pot of perspectives, ideas, and experiences, I think this is an incredible and important thing.
Overall, working at DanceEast as part of the CAT team is amazing, not only is it incredibly rewarding but it is also so much fun – I think it is very rare to come across a job where you share laughter and fun with colleagues to the extent I do here. This also extends to outside of the office – a big shout out to our Summer and Winter Parties!!
It is truly a joy, and I couldn’t recommend it enough.
The DanceEast CAT are currently recruiting for a Centre for Advanced Training Officer. Find out more about the role and how to apply here.