The Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) is like a family. It’s no wonder the dancers have such a strong bond, working together multiple times a week for so many years, developing technique and creating performances. This makes it especially difficult to say goodbye to the graduates. We wanted to hear from this year’s leavers to find out what they’d miss most about their time with the CAT.
“It’s such an amazing support network,” Chloe says, and explains they’ve been keeping in touch with each other during lockdown through weekly Zoom quizzes and online classes. Alessandra will “miss the friendliness and insulation of the CAT community”, with memories of summer intensives, group warm-ups and in jokes from classes littering their responses. The graduates really enjoyed the Audition Toolkit, a residential trip for CAT students across the country to experience workshops and tasters at vocational dance conservatoire. They found the toolkit was a useful insight into further training, a chance to meet other young dancers from different CATs, and a great bonding experience for everyone involved; the creepy hotel in Leeds and the sugar rushed train ride home won’t be forgotten for a long time.
Picture: DanceEast CAT Graduates at Audition Toolkit
“The most important thing I took away from the CAT was how to be myself in a new situation and how to get the most out of it, whether that’s auditions, workshops or just meeting new people.” Elly
All the graduates were incredibly grateful to the CAT for encouraging their creativity, and for the training and support provided by the tutors. One key aspect of this support was health classes, where they were taught how to look after their bodies. “We were provided with lots of helpful information and resources and we have looked at various aspects such as anatomy, healthy eating, performance preparation and much more! How to look after myself has been a huge takeaway from the programme,” says Chloe. “I’ve learnt how to prevent injuries, when I should see someone about a possible injury and how to recover and I will be forever grateful that I have been able to have that from so young,” adds Daisy.
The tutors inspire our students to believe in themselves, to gain confidence and to realise their individuality as dancers. The importance of pushing themselves, trusting in their abilities and persevering was noted by many.
“You will gain more from doing something wrong than doing something half-heartedly.” Rebecca
“Even though things may not go the way you want or the way you planned, CAT has taught me to keep pushing and keep moving forward and eventually things will work out.” Jade
Introducing the students to dance artists provides them with invaluable exposure to working professionally. Olivia reflected on her time performing as part of a curtain raiser for Richard Alston Dance Company in Norwich, “We were lucky enough to have Alston choreograph an original piece for us and perform within his Norwich performances. It was such an honour to learn from his wisdom and experience and provided a true insight into the professional world. It was incredible to be alongside his dancers which were so supportive and inspiring. I will never forget that feeling of performing with such an amazing company.”
Picture: The DanceEast CAT with Richard Alston Dance Company at the Jerwood DanceHouse
The graduates enjoyed working with a whole host of other artists across their time with the DanceEast CAT. Elly was inspired seeing Hannah Kidd perform, and taking part in her workshop on technique and improvisation. Chloe and Alessandra enjoyed working with professional choreographers for the CAT End of Year Show last year; Chloe felt so lucky to work with Joseph Toonga and Alessandra enjoyed combining film and live performance with Jess and Morgs. While Katie has been inspired by her CAT Tutor, Kate Durrant, “I really enjoyed working with Kate. She always encouraged her students to do better than they ever thought they could and constantly give 150% effort. I always felt like I had achieved something after one of her classes and she definitely knew how to tire us out!”. Meredith couldn’t choose a favourite artist as there were so many great opportunities across her time. “CAT has helped broaden my view of the dance world,” she says.
Picture: The DanceEast CAT with Joseph Toonga at the Jerwood DanceHouse
“CAT is not about showing off,” says Daisy. “It’s about actual dance and feeling. CAT has really made me mature over the years in my training and as a person.”
Although there can’t be an End of Year Show this year, the DanceEast CAT are excited to host their first ever Digital Summer Intensive! The graduates are looking forward to working with James Cousins Company on the summer intensive this year, supported by a DanceEast CAT Alumni, George Frampton who is now part of the company. Tune in to the DanceEast Instagram this week as student’s takeover and share their experience of #CATWeek2020. DanceEast are also sharing past CAT performances on their Facebook each evening, find out more here: https://www.danceeast.co.uk/watch-a-performance/
DanceEast wish all the graduates best of luck in their next endeavours, whether that’s further training or other exciting opportunities including Northern School of Contemporary Dance, London, Contemporary Dance School, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and Ballet West.
You can find out more about the DanceEast Centre for Advanced Training by clicking here.