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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 past and present student stories.

Sua’s Centre for Advanced Training Story

Sua joined the Dance4 Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) programme in 2014. Sua was a member of the National Youth Dance Company between 2016-2018, performing at Sadlers Wells and touring with work by Damien Jalet and Sharon Eyal. Sua is now currently studying at London School of Contemporary Dance.

When were you on the Dance4 CAT programme?

From September 2014 to July 2019.

What did the CAT programme teach you? What were some of your best experiences?CAT helped me develop confidence as an individual (not just in dance). I have so many fond memories of working with other people during my time at CAT that means I always look forward to creative tasks where we work in groups. Many of my favourite moments have been when we worked with an artist that introduced a completely different physical experience than what we were used to (for example the first creative session with Jemima and when we had Kynam for a whole term), meaning that we learnt so many new qualities right from the start of those classes. You had to use all your previous knowledge to challenge yourself and in those moments you saw your classmates transform into completely new movers.

Where are you now?Since CAT, I have started vocational training at London Contemporary Dance School. It essentially feels like a prolonged CAT day, every day. At first it was challenging to find the work and life balance and, on top of that, moving out of home and starting a new life in such a busy city has been overwhelming from the get-go. Over time, I have felt my body start to adapt to the physical and emotional intensity of working so many hours. My course is challenging me now in new ways, not only physically but mentally as well, and I just feel my love of movement growing stronger (which is rather cheesy). Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Did the CAT programme help you prepare for the training you are currently undertaking?It most definitely did. Every other week we would have a new artist which means a new approach to creative thinking. This has proved so helpful in my current course to be able to think outside the box and discover how I would like to develop my own movement vocabulary. This goes for technique classes too, learning from early on how to self-correct not only in the mirror but internally feeling the movement, has been super useful to increase proprioception, as a lot of the time we don’t even use mirrors in class anymore.

What are your plans/aspirations for the future?For now, I’m just working towards finishing my degree whilst also experiencing being a young person in London. The art scene is so busy in London so maybe discovering some new skills sets would be a lot of fun, if time permits me. Above all, I would like to have attempted as many different dance styles as possible by the end of the 3 years!

What advice would you give someone thinking about joining the CAT programme?
Always come in curious and excited to learn. Go for everything that is done in class, to not have any regrets. Even on days when you’re not feeling at your peak, it is important to learn how to deal with your feelings whilst you can during CAT. Mainly just have fun during the process and with your friends!