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.
Zoe’s CAT Story
Zoe joined the Dance4 CAT programme with very little experience of contemporary dance. In 2014 Zoe went on to study dance at University of Central Lancashire. Since graduating in 2017 Zoe has been developing as a dance artist in a variety of education and community settings. Zoe is now based back in the East Midlands, working as an freelance dance artist. We have been deligheted this year to welcome Zoe onto the Dance4 CAT Staff team, assisting and supporting our current students and also delivering some of our CAT outreach work in schools across the region.
What did the CAT scheme teach you? What were some of your experiences on the scheme?
The CAT scheme taught me a lot – from freedom of movement to being comfortable with experimenting. My first memory of the CAT scheme was actually the audition. I had never been to an audition where I didn’t know anyone and felt very conscious. I remember being welcomed in and everyone was extremely friendly. I felt like they really saw my potential and I was so happy to be offered a place. CAT gave me the confidence to explore my movement more, to not be afraid to try and fail and always push yourself as far as you can go because you never know what might come from it.
Being on CAT supported my future. We were all treated as individuals and our journeys were all different, but the CAT programme supported us all to where we wanted to be.
Where did you go on to train?
I went to train on the Dance Performance and Teaching course at the University of Central Lancashire.
This wasn’t originally my first choice, but the course ended up changing my life and without being on the CAT programme beforehand, I don’t think I would have been as open-minded as I was.
The course really sculpted my career, having the opportunity to do placements in the community dance sector, performance company’s and within schools. It gave me plenty of time to go and explore all avenues of contemporary dance and it really supported the seed of exploration that the CAT scheme gave me.
What are you doing now? What did you do to get there?
During University, I managed to shadow and volunteer for dance companies and organisations around the North West. This gave me a huge insight to the career field I was going in to and really helped me to narrow down what I thought I wanted to do.
I also spent my time learning to write bids, fundraising, programming, scheduling… all of which are ESSENTIAL as a dance artist. After University, I got a job at Ludus Dance as a dance development officer, running the youth company, supporting artist development and schools.
During my time at Ludus, I worked with several artists that have been in the field for many years and realised that I wanted to be more of a delivery artist than a project manager at this point in my career so I took the leap to go freelance and work towards being lead artist on projects.
I am now a freelance dance artist working around the Midlands. I regularly deliver technique and creative contemporary sessions in schools and colleges. I spend most of my days moving in a studio, with different participants, all with different needs and abilities; using all my knowledge and also pushing me to keep growing as an artist.
How has it felt to now be working on the Dance4 CAT programme? – leading some of the recruitment/outreach work and working to support current students?
To be assisting on the CAT programme and delivering the outreach workshops feels like a true privilege.
It is great to be able to have been a part of the programme and share my experiences with current students and those who are thinking about being part of the programme.
Delivering the outreach workshops is really wonderful because I know when I was a young teenager, doing something like this felt so far away from what I thought I could do, so it is great to be able to share those feelings and prove you can do it!
Supporting on a Saturday is exciting, as I am witnessing the next generation of dancers and also being a part of the supportive environment they have here. It definitely feels amazing to be able to give back to the programme.
What advice would you give to a young person thinking about joining the CAT programme?
JUST GO FOR IT!!
I would absolutely recommend attending the audition – as soon as you walk in, you will feel the wonderful atmosphere that Dance4 has. Even if you are unsure if this is for you, the audition will tell you everything you need to know.
I would absolutely recommend joining if you love being creative, love trying new things and love working with a supportive group of people.
To get involved in our celebratory year, send us ideas, memories, photos, comments etc to email@example.com or share via social media platforms #d4catmoments