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31 Jan 2017

DanceEast Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) is one of ten national centres that identifies children and young people, aged between 10 and 18 years, with exceptional potential in dance. The nationwide scheme aims to develop, create and inspire the next generation of dance artists, choreographers and dance leaders. By cultivating young dancers at a critical stage in their development, the scheme prepares students for entry into the world’s leading vocational and higher education institutions and on to successful and rewarding careers in dance.

The DanceEast CAT is currently looking for the best young dance talent in the East to join in September 2017. DanceEast CAT is looking for individuals who aspire to a career in dance, who stand out, show drive and determination, are hard-working and creative, and above all are committed and passionate.

DanceEast caught up with Rebecca Hall, a current student on the DanceEast CAT, to find out exactly what it’s like to go through the application and audition process and to be a student on the scheme.

How did you first find out about the CAT?

Before I was in the CAT I was part of the Suffolk Junior Dance Company at DanceEast. A couple of older members auditioned for the CAT which encouraged me to look into it as well. I went to an Open Day and realised it was something that I wanted to do, so I applied and then auditioned.

How useful did you find the Open Day?

I thought it was really useful as it was exactly how a CAT class really is. And at the end of the day, the tutor gave us the opportunity to ask any questions and it was really nice to have some familiar faces at the audition that I had met at the Open Day.

How did you find the audition process?

I was 11 years old and I thought it was going to be a little bit scary but it actually wasn’t too daunting, everything was just very new. I found everyone so lovely, and all of the other people auditioning were really friendly too.

What opportunities has CAT given you?

If I wasn’t in the CAT I would never have worked with so many different people and made so many friends from Cambridge, Norwich and Colchester. I also wouldn’t have met lots of different choreographers, it’s so great when they come to work with us, especially if you’ve read about them or seen their performances. We also go to London and Norwich on trips to see their work, and it’s quite surreal when they work with you.

What’s the best thing about being in CAT?

We never do the same thing twice, and there are always different invited choreographers and the opportunity to work in different styles – not just contemporary and ballet. It never gets boring. The biggest highlight for me was when we worked with company members from Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, it was such a good experience to learn from them and recreate their work.

What are your career aspirations?

Before I was in the CAT I didn’t actually know what I wanted to do in the future. But now I definitely know I want to go into contemporary dance. I will audition for a few different places in a couple of years’ time.

What would you say to people who are thinking about applying?

I would definitely recommend that they attend an Open Day, as that really did help me decide that I wanted to apply. And I would say that even if you aren’t sure, just apply anyway as it’s a great experience and you meet lots of new people. I wouldn’t be nervous about the audition, as you are never going to be on your own, there will always be someone there to help and it’s not too difficult!

It is highly recommended that prospective applicants come to one of the Taster Workshops in Ipswich, Norwich, Cambridge or Colchester or to the Open Day at the Jerwood DanceHouse. You will find out more information about the DanceEast CAT and take part in a range of workshops left by teaching team. Parents and guardians will also have the opportunity to speak directly with the management team.