The Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) is readying itself for the 2012 auditions in April for the next generation of young dancers from across London and the South East.
Based in the Creekside dance faculty of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, the CAT programme is an innovative scheme which each year offers around 40 young people aged 13-16 with exceptional talent with the chance to access high quality dance training.
No previous dance experience is required but those auditioning must demonstrate potential. Classes are held on Saturdays and provide rigorous dance training taught by a team of professional dance teachers and artists, which is supplemented by intensive training during school holidays. CAT students also take part in collaborative performances, most recently with The Royal Ballet Upper School to create a joint dance performance piece, which was performed at The Royal Ballet School earlier this month.
CAT Programme Manager, Martin Collins, said the course suited both young people who had been dancing for years and people who were completely new to it:
"Trinity Laban's CAT course is designed to help you figure out if you want to be a professional dancer or not, and around 20 percent of our current intake had little or no dancing experience before joining us. I would recommend that if you're not sure, come to one of our taster sessions in March."
Martin pointed out that the programme attracted boys as well as girls:
"We audition and train the boys in special Boys Only groups. One success story is Taha Ghauni, whose only experience of dance was through his PE lessons at school. Taha started on the Trinity Laban CAT programme in 2008, and was part of a dance film and music collaboration based at the Southbank Centre, as well as choreographing his own highly original and imaginative dance works." Following his A levels, Taha recently gained a place at P.A.R.T.s in Brussels, a highly prestigious performing arts training school, which selects students from all over the world.
Taha said: "The CAT scheme worked as a catalyst for my aspirations. It was incredible to be involved in a constantly moving environment of young people enthusiastic about dance. Throughout the scheme I felt like I was improving my dancing abilities. Every teacher at Trinity Laban gave me the incentive to aim high and achieve."
Amarnah Amuludun was one of the first CAT students when the programme began in 2006. However she was no stranger to Trinity Laban as she lived locally in Lewisham and first started dance classes when she was aged 12, as part of the Trinity Laban Youth Dance Programme. Armarnah is a highly talented performer, and in September 2010 she started at the London Contemporary Dance School on their BA (Hons) degree in Contemporary Dance.
"The CAT scheme is life changing and will be with me always. It helped me discover what I was good at and what was worth pursuing as a career."
Picture of Taha Ghauni provided by Youth Dance England
This year the taster days will be on 17 and 25 March 2012. Auditions will take place on 11, 12, 21 and 28 April 2012. There will be a Boys Only audition on 5 May.
For information on the taster days and auditions, please contact the CAT administrator Bethan Peters 020 8305 9418, [email protected]
Read here for a blog by recent graduate Charlie Burt about her experience on the CAT programme - /education-community/for-children-young-people/centre-for-advanced-training/student-blog-by-charlie-burt.aspx