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Centres for Advanced Training (CATs)


chaperone
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Hello

 

I wonder if anyone has experience of regional CATs schemes ? I noticed there is a brief forum on auditions for the Place but I'd be interested to hear more about anyones experience with CATs schemes as my daughter is thinking of auditioning for DanceEast. Her main interest is ballet (age 13, in G6 RAD and inter foundation, started pointe); exam classes don't offer the creative classes and development support that the CATS scheme appears to offer. We're not likely to be eligible for the funding and I'm not really clear from the promotional literature whether it is 'worth' the £3.5k pa plus extras (maybe a drop in the ocean compared to vocational school...) so I'd be very grateful to hear if anyone on the forum has experience of such schemes?

 

Many thanks. :)

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Hi my daughter is in her first year at Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds and I would say it is definately worth the money. They all have a physiotherapy assessment, tutorial and an individual training plan compiled at the beginning of the academic year with their targets for the year. We also got a report at the end of the first term with additional areas to work on. She studies with them for 8 hours per week, 3 hours of contemporary technique, 3 hours of creative and 2 hours of complimentary study eg ballet and pilates.

On top of this there has been an intensive weekend, a week of alternative dance styles and this week it is choreography week where she is in working with Errol White on her end of year performance. There is another intensive week in the summer. There are numerous opportunities to perform in community projects. She has had 4 trips to the theatre to watch Retina dance, Rambert, Phoenix Dance and Nederlands Dans Theater 2 (amazing!! :) ), all included in the fees. They all went to Move It in London for the weekend (but I did have to pay extra for this.) The group of young people she is with (and the older students) are amazing and the teachers push them to their limits but also value them and and they are encouraged to be the best they can be. They are trained in injury prevention and supported with nutrition and diet. As it is a pre-vocational course they are fully prepared as they progress through the scheme for applying and auditioning for full time training.

I get a part MDS and still have to contribute a significant amount to the scheme but I personally feel it is worth every penny!

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Thank you for this- this is encouraging news! The direct feedback and support for the individual dancer plus the extras ( which I guess help build a good community spirit) sounds excellent. Does your D also do whatever local classes she was doing to be able to continue with exam work or would that be OTT ??

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I must say from The Place's Open Day, we thought the CAT scheme looked absolutely amazing. The only thing that stopped our dd applying is that her great love is Classical Ballet, and there are no CATs in London/S.E. which concentrate mainly on ballet.

 

She likes Contemporary as part of her Associate Classes but wants to stay there for now. If she feels differently in a couple of years' time I will certainly encourage her to apply for a CAT scheme though.

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I am also part of the CAT scheme - mainly with Dance City in Newcastle. I am in my first year, however, have already been feeling the benefits! It is a contemporary CAT scheme and although I am aiming for a classical career, the teachers on my program have been fantastic, especially the ballet staff. Not only have I gained strength, but have my posture under control and performance skills developing. I can only thank my CAT scheme for that. It is definitely been a worthwhile step in my training, and I feel I have benefited so much thanks to my fantastic teachers.

 

I couldn't recommend it more!

 

LB x

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My daughter is a CAT student at Northern Ballet Academy Leeds. The only classical CAT programme in the country. The course is absolutely fantastic and worth every penny. Previous to this my daughter was at vocational dance school on a MDS. She does more classical training on the CAT course too!

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My DD would love to do the Northern Ballet one but we are soo far away for evening or weekend trips for this. I remember someone mentioning satellites, are there any for NB CAT?

 

I know Northern School of Contemporary Dance CAT will source satellite classes but I am unsure about Northern Ballet CAT

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  • 4 weeks later...

Anyone can audition in the first round then there is a second round which sometimes includes a solo (depends on which scheme). The standard is very high and I am not sure what other people think but although the scheme says 11 - 16 I don't think many 11 year olds make it through.

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I know the minimum age for the CAT scheme my dd attends is 13 and they can stay until 18.

As Robin64 says the first stage is to attend an open day and anyone who is interested can attend these. From these, selected candidates are then invited to audition at a later date.

Whilst the standard is very high, potential is definately a factor as well as actual ability as successful dancers starting my DD's scheme last year came a variety of dance backgrounds and their ages ranged from 13-17. :)

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One young auditionee who I think was 11 burst into tears after coming out at how tough the class was (re call audition) and I think she was a good dancer. DD was 12 then and it made her realise that these auditions are pretty rigorous. She has never done any of the vocational school auditions so this was pretty much her first audition experience. Made it to second round but not selected last time but will try again. I wouldn't be put off from trying if you have a younger DC but it is worth being aware that you might not be successful first time at 11. That said, I am glad DD went, she really enjoyed the classes and felt inspired. I guess it is worth checking the age range for the particular CAT you are interested in.

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I don't think you have to attend an open day at all centres and be invited to audtion, some of them you can just apply to.

Is there and average number of students for a CAT? The one that we've looked at has 41 with 39 MDS places

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http://www.theplace.org.uk/454/about/about-cat.html

This is the link to 'the place' London Contemporary Dance School CAT. My DD was one of the first students on the CAT there and things havae obviously changed along the way. They definately take the younger ones and most definately look for potential. If they have students where potential is spotted but there is a lack of dance education then that will be supported to enable potential to be relalised.

The Contemporary CAT schemes have both contemporary and ballet as core subjects but the ballet is not syllabus based but ballet for contemporary dancers. Core strength is required for both and is worked on very hard so whichever way a dancer goes they have the best of both worlds. It is also good to have this on a CV as it shows versatility as well!!

Generally CAT's do not assess out as it is about developing the emerging dancer and many students go on into dance - my DD is in her final term of her final year at LCDS having been with them since the age of 14.5 when CAT first began properly.

As I say, the scheme has developed and changed along the way - for example if we applied now we would be expected to attend the CAT at dance xchange in Birmingham rather than travel to London every week.

Anybody wondering should at least audition and take it from there. It is the most wonderful training and exposure to choreographers who are the future of contemporary dance as well as the 'now'. Go for it!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think the Exeter CAT auditions are at Swindon. At Swindon you can choose contemporary or urban dance. First round for contemporary is 2 classes. Second round is class and 1 min solo with interview (not with parent present). Classes are fairly tough and you need to pick up choreography quickly. It is a good day though.

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Pointytoes22,

Give it a go, they really are looking for potential. There is an open day at Exeter on 27th May I think. That will include demonstration by current students, information about the course and funding, and a dance class. It's free, so you have nothing to lose. Then you can decide whether or not to audition on June 10th.

 

Information from their web-site

 

http://youthdanceacademy.yolasite.com/

 

 

You need to scroll down a bit.

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A friend's daughter did the Laban CAT a few years ago and wasn't impressed. I went along for one of their end of term dance days and found the standard very low. The atitude of the staff towards the dancers also wasn't encouraging, classes were very large as well. I do stress this was a few years ago and things may have improved. Appeared very disorganised too.

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pointytoes, definitely give it a go. The staff at Swindon were friendly and I think it is a good experience to try the audition. There are quite a few clips from Swindon YDA on youtube. They are looking for potential so they might see what they want in you. From what I saw Swindon YDA is a high standard with students going on to further professional training. Good luck with it. :)

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Pontytoes- I agree with the messages encouraging you to go for it...nothing ventured nothing gained! and having the experience of auditions and getting a better understanding of what is on offer is really important and there are a lot of storied on this forum of dancers having to keep trying and coping with rejection or deciding that a programme is not the right on for them. My dd has a first stage auditon coming up for a CAT and is generally very shy and underconfident and never auditioned for anything before...I'll post the outcomes!

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I havent had any personal experience of the CAT centres but a friend of ours attended the Swindon one. She loves the classes but did find it very demanding of her time.

 

They held many workshops during holidays which they expected the children attend, this meant she had to give up fesitval/performance work which she enjoyed. There were also classes added mid-week which due to the distance involved made life very difficult and she was discouraged from attending her local dance school.

 

The training was good but expensive and they expected a lot in terms of exclusivitity.

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