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We’re celebrating 10 Years of our Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) programme.

For a decade the scheme has been identifying and developing exceptional young dance talent from across the East Midlands. As part of our celebrations we will be shining a light on 10 Dance4 CAT student stories from students past and present.

Cat Mugshots CharlotteCharlotte’s Centre for Advanced Training Story

Charlotte Started her training on the CAT programme in 2016. Now in her final year, Charlotte will be leaving to begin her training in dance at Falmouth University in September 2020. As well as being a CAT Student, Charlotte is also a member of the National Youth Dance Company and Next Door Dance Youth Dance Company.

How did you discover the CAT programme?A dance teacher at school told a friend and myself about the audition and we just went along for the fun of it, to experience something new, and the rest follows from there.

What was your previous experience of dance before CAT?I had started ballet lessons when I was 3 and started tap lessons soon after, then I dabbled in lessons of other styles like musical theatre, jazz, commercial and jazz. Then when I auditioned for CAT for the first time in 2015, I started contemporary classes, and as a result, successfully auditioned for CAT in 2016.

What do you like about CAT? Why do you go every week?I love going to CAT because it’s different every week, having new creative teachers leads to unique sessions everytime I go where we all learn something different, and that’s what I like so much.

But alongside that, I also love having the same technique teacher every week who sees us develop through the term, letting us have a chance to work on set phrases to improve week by week.

It’s also a good break from school and any stresses that may have, inevitably, followed from that; it’s nice to just let everything go in the studio and put my mind to something more expressive.

How has CAT helped you prepare for full time dance training?CAT has helped me prepare for full time training by letting me experience all sides and aspects of dance, opening my mind to new ways of approaching movement; not always seeing as a form of entertainment, but freedom, expression and internal feeling.

Resulting in my knowledge constantly expanding into branches of the industry I never even knew existed when I first started dancing, allowing me to walk into an audition and feel prepared for whatever may be put in front of me.

The audition toolkit is also a MASSIVE help, not only does it give us time to make opinions on the schools we may want to go to, but also let’s us talk to students from other CAT’s and can therefore offer other perspectives to think about due to our differences in experiences regarding training.

Has your learning on CAT helped you to decide on your future career path?The co-ordinators and staff are all super supportive and are always on hand if we need a chat about any worries we may be having, whether or not they regard dance, so it takes the pressure out of the ‘training’ aspect of CAT and relieves your mind of any stresses you may be having regarding where you want to take your next step because you’re given the freedom to decide whether dance is the career path you want to take.

They also offer and tell us about so many different opportunities happening in and around Nottingham; Xzibit, NYDC experience workshops, satellite groups. All of which, have helped me get where I am right now.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to join the CAT programme?I would just say “do it.”

Because ultimately, the audition is a really fun day in general and the worst thing that could happen from the day is that the panel think you may not be right for CAT at that time, because that’s exactly what happened to me, and it only made me want to go and explore the style further having never done it before entering the audition, and the next year, I got a place.

I definitely think if you’re unsure if dancing is what you want to do, CAT is a good place to help discover that within yourself because you have so many brand new experiences, and opportunities and meet so many people, that by the end of it all, you’re equipped with enough knowledge (and people to talk to) to confidently make your decision, whatever it may be.

​To get involved in our celebratory year, send us ideas, memories, photos, comments etc here or share via social media platforms using the hashtag #d4catmoments.