The CAT Scheme is a pre-vocational contemporary training scheme for 11-18 year olds. Based at The Place in London, the scheme prepares young dancers for further study at university or dance conservatoires. For more information and to apply, please visit https://www.theplace.org.uk/centre-advanced-training
For me,this was a highly anticipated audition. I had wanted to audition for The Place’s CAT Scheme for quite some time and was ecstatic that it was finally materializing. Located in central London’s Euston, The Place was uncomplicated to get to (it is located 5 minutes away from Euston’s tube station) and is situated in an engaging part of the city. The building itself has fantastic state of the art facilities- boasting 10 spacious studios and a fully equipped professional theatre.
We arrived early –and I’m glad that we did- due to the high volume of auditionees, therewas already rather a long queue for registration. Once allocated our audition numbers, both auditionees and parents were invited into one of the studios for an adrenaline-fueled pre-audition talk. This allowed both parents andauditionees to gauge what exactly would occur during the audition and selection process (which was a good thing, as most of the parents appeared even morestressed than their children who were actually auditioning!). Parents were then invited to an escorted tour around The Place and a course talk.
The audition began with a relatively simple ballet bar- it seemed that auditionees were more being assessed on strength, musicality and technique than anything else. This was taught by one of the CAT scheme’s ballet tutors, who came acrossas supportive and reassuring- even giving out invaluable corrections.
The audition constantly switched between ballet and contemporary technique, the variety of which proved to be interesting (despite the rather tedious need tokeep interchanging between bare feet and ballet shoes!). Contemporary technique was taught in short, relatively straight forward phrases, allowing auditionees to pick up the material with ease (which is refreshing for an audition of this caliber!). Again, the panel were looking for technique as well as individual creative interpretation plus sufficient musicality.
Following the technique class, auditionees then partook in a creative session. This consisted of creating your own movement phrase, inspired by a selection ofdance vocabulary given by the contemporary tutor. It was crucial to display originality and creativity within this task- individuality was pivotal. Auditionees were then asked to collaborate this material with other dancers, forming bigger groups, which were then shown to the rest of the audition class.To finish, auditionees were asked to improvise within the space, using thegiven music score as a starting point.
- This was a highly demanding audition, the length of the audition proved to be exhausting, yet the material wasn’t too tough
- The Place is an incredible building to dance in and it was a nice touch that parents were taken into account during the audition
- There was a very competitive atmosphere, with the standard of dancing being very high. I attended the older age group category’s audition (auditionees were between 14 and 16 years old) and it was obvious that they all had previous dance experience. The Place says that previous dance experience is not a prerequisite of applying, yet I would recommend certainly attending a few dance classes prior to auditioning
- Arrive early
- If possible don’t wear a black leotard. Almost all the auditionees were wearing black leotards and tights, making it tough for the panel to distinguish between people. Aim to wear an alternative colour
- If do you opt to wear tights, certainly make sure that you wear convertible tights as the audition requires you to dance in both ballet shoes and bare feet
- The panel are really looking for creative and confident individuals. They’re not concerned if you make mistakes, but are really looking for dancers who react quickly and can offer something different and unique to the course
- Auditioning multiple times is certainly worthwhile, auditionees seem to be considered more highly if they are returning applicants. I know people who have been put onto the waiting list and then have ended up being accepted onto the course. If you can, definitely try to reaudition if you are not successful upon your first attempt
Audition applications usually open mid February 2019, with auditions being held in March. For more information about the scheme of to apply, please visit
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