We have reached that exciting, yet bittersweet time of the year again; it’s time for the Centre of Advanced Training (CAT) students to graduate and go on to start their next adventures.
The DanceEast team are incredibly proud of everything the CAT students have achieved during their time on the programme and are looking forward to the CAT End of Year Show this weekend. As their final show approaches, we wanted to spend a moment reflecting on the experiences of our 2022 graduates and share some of their favourite memories.
The CAT students are given the opportunity to perform on stage from early on in the CAT programme, and it was lovely to hear students share nostalgic memories of their earliest performances. Genevieve said her favourite memory was her first ever CAT performance as it was the first time she had performed at such a level and loved it! Autumn told us how much fun she had performing the choreography to the song Brightest Star from the film Nativity at the CAT Christmas Celebration. Maya reminisced on working with Jasmin Vardimon Company in her first year of CAT, and added it was both terrifying and thrilling to work on their Roadshow.
“Another amazing CAT memory is working with Jasmin Vardimon Company in my very first year at CAT… little 12 year-old me was both terrified and thrilled to work on the Park Roadshow with them!” – Maya
Whilst being part of the CAT programme, the students have had the opportunity to work with professional dance artists and other like-minded young people from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Ameya’s favourite memory was working with Hofesh Shechter Company as a graduate group, because the experience really pushed her out of her comfort zone and she loved sharing the experience with fellow CAT students. Daphne added that it was really special to work with a dance company that the CAT group all love and she is excited to perform Hofesh Shechter’s iconic piece Political Mother Unplugged this summer.
The CAT exposes the students to new genres of dance and diverse styles of choreography. Maisy’s favourite CAT memory was working with Uchena Dance, explaining it was challenging and like nothing she had done before but that made performing the piece all the more rewarding.
“I was so proud to be apart of that piece and I distinctly remember practising at home with a towel how to fasten the scarf onto my head because mine fell off all the time in rehearsal!” – Maisy
The CAT End of Year Show is always a triumphant finale for everyone involved and a fantastic chance for the students to showcase all their hard work, creativity and progression over the last year on the programme. Charlotte’s favourite memory was performing a piece by James Wilton Dance Company ‘a feels years ago’ in the End of Year Show, whilst Tabatha enjoyed the intensive summer rehearsals before the show, as it introduced her to the friendly and family-like atmosphere of being apart of the CAT. Similarly, Lara loved being a part of the community CAT provides, especially during summer intensives where they would all warm up, dancing as a big group together to get ready to perform. There is never a dull moment during the summer intensives, as Nancy remembers a key favourite moment was playing ninja together!
“I remember everyone making me feel very comfortable – being the youngest one there surrounded by 17 and 18 years olds! Also it was the first time being able to work with a professional company, such as Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures.” – Tabatha
Being a part of the CAT programme enables students to connect with other passionate young dancers and gives them fantastic networking opportunities. One highlight a few of the graduates mentioned this year was the CAT Toolkit, a residential trip for the CAT students across the country to experience workshops and tasters at vocational dance. Romi loved the opportunity because it was a fantastic chance to meet new people and Eve added it was great to make new friends with other CAT graduates from across the country. Joe also enjoyed taking part in this year’s Toolkit and told us this opportunity enabled him to grow his confidence massively.
“You could see everyone’s joy for dance and meeting other grads from other CATs was amazing too because it made auditioning for school less stressful as there were some friendly faces there too!” – Romi
Looking towards the future, we’re so proud of the various paths the CAT graduates plan to take. This year, graduates are venturing onto study at dance schools, which include Trinity Laban, Rambert School, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and London Contemporary Dance School. It’s always inspiring to see the CAT graduates go on to collaborate and cherish the friendships they have made whilst on the programme. We can’t wait to follow the journeys of each of our graduates and see what exciting things they go on to do!