The CAT Scheme is a pre-vocational contemporary training scheme for 11-18 year olds. Based at Laban in Greenwich, London, the scheme prepares young dancers for further study at university or dance conservatoires. For more information and to apply, please visit https://www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/study/dance/centre-for-advanced-training
Laban is located in the roomy part of London. The part where it’s a small hike even to cross over to the opposite side of the road; where a selection of tax-funded shrubberies sit dotted across the pavement. Laban equals this. Placed upon a grassy field of artificial hills, the building itself has an intended iridescent quality- designed by a pair of Swiss architects. The venue seemed to simultaneously inspire and terrify me as I approached, dance bag swung across my shoulder.
It was obvious to see Laban’s wealth of organisation and professionalisms from the minute I entered the building. I was quickly assigned an audition number and directed to the cafeteria, in anticipation for my audition slot.
We were called into the studio theatre- a spacious, airy area with a lack of wall mirrors. Firstly we took part in a warmup, before partaking in a contemporary technique class. This was fast paced, yet relatively straightforward to pick up and join in with. It seemed that throughout the audition, the panel were more so looking for expression, artistry and musicality than strict technique. Without usage of mirrors, it allowed for more of an incentive to absorb the material, as you couldn’t look into the mirrors at others for reassurance. Some of the movement phrases that we were taught were long in length, meaning it was rather challenging to pick up and remember the material. However, the phrases themselves were intelligently choreographed and enjoyable to dance.
Following this, auditionees took part in a creative session. This involved a lengthy improvisation task, whereby we would travel from one side of the room to another in pairs, whilst imagining different scenarios (e.g. wading through thick mud). We were also given the opportunity to work in small groups to choreograph small routines, which were then shown to the rest of the group. There seemed to be rather a large emphasis upon teamwork and your ability to listen, lead and suggest ideas to your teammates.
Overall, the audition was thoroughly enjoyable- I felt so welcomed, plus the audition itself was highly exciting. Laban seem to really focus on creating unique, individual dancers with innovative personalities – perhaps something to consider if you are thinking about auditioning for either the CAT Scheme of the BA degree course itself.
- The audition does not include ballet, which probably comes as rather a relief to some people! Despite this, ballet is a component on the CAT Scheme itself
- Classes are mixed in terms of age which meant that there was disparities between the levels of dancing. However, the teacher was able to create material that was suitable and enjoyable for everyone, whilst still allowing you to show off your own ability. The second round auditions are generally streamed into age categories
- Bring along your own safety pins! You will be given a sticker with a number on before the audition begins, but these have a great tendency of falling off really quickly. If you bring along your own safety pins, you can ensure that the panel can easily identify you throughout the audition
- Don’t let the lack of mirrors put you off- many dancers are accustomed to dancing with a mirror, so it can be disorientating to dance without them. If you always dance in front of a mirror, it may be worthwhile to turn away from it, now and again. This allows you to ‘feel’ movement and placing, ultimately allowing you to tune into your body a little better
- Try to be as unique as possible- this is exactly what the panel are looking for. Ensure that you are following the choreography correctly, but equally ensure that you are still being expressive and are thinking about the movement qualities
Audition applications usually open mid February 2019, with auditions being held in March. For more information about the scheme of to apply, please visit https://www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/study/dance/centre-for-advanced-training