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Centre for Advanced Training (CAT), at The Place, is a pre-vocational training programme for young people aged 11-16 years (students can stay on the programme until the age of 18 years) who have a passion for dance. The programme focuses on contemporary dance, fusion, creative studies and ballet, as well as providing health and wellbeing support, theatre trips, and career guidance to support holistic development. It runs on Saturdays during term time with two evening classes on weekdays, and students also get to participate in choreographic intensives during the holidays.

CATs exist to identity and assist young people with promising potential — regardless of their background and experience — to benefit from world-class specialist training whilst living at home and staying at school. All classes are taught by our experienced dance teachers and accompanied by live musicians. In addition, the students work with visiting artists and dance companies to develop a range of skills including collaboration, performing, and adaptability.

As part of the National Programme which launched in 2004, CAT is generously funded by the Department for Education Music and Dance Scheme (MDS). This means that the programme can be fully, or partially funded through grants that are awarded based on household income. This enables us to support any young person with the skills and confidence to be the next generation of future leaders in the field of dance and beyond.

Families who do not qualify for a grant will be required to pay the full fee for the academic year. All classes, workshops, intensives, uniform, theatre trips, and in some cases travel and accommodation, are covered by the course fee. If you live outside London you will receive expenses for mid-week dance classes and travel to The Place.

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The CAT programme helped me develop my dancing ability, without CAT I wouldn’t be the dancer I am now. It also helped me make amazing friendships which have also turned into professional connections.

CAT Graduate

In the background a dancer holds on to a ballet barre with their arm outstretched to the side. They are looking directly forwards with focus and wearing all black. There are other arms in the foreground
CAT student in studio. Credit: Henry Curtis 2022

Key Information

Who is the right candidate?

The purpose of CAT is to enable any and all young people aged between 11-18 yrs to explore their passion for dance.

We particularly look for students who show

Potential: a strong disposition towards dance

Enthusiasm:a passion for dance and a hunger to learn

Commitment:a dedication to dance training and self-discipline

What will I study?

We deliver classes at The Place every Saturday afternoon from 12.30-5.45 during term time in:

  • Contemporary dance
  • Ballet
  • Creative studies
  • Fitness Groove

We also deliver mid-week classes on Tuesday and Wednesday in:

  • Ballet
  • Contemporary dance

The classes are supported by teaching assistants from London Contemporary Dance School and accompanied by professional live musicians.

In addition, CAT offers students extra projects throughout the year to develop performance skills and creative studies:

  • Holiday intensives where you collaborate with exciting dance companies and dance performers. Students take part in varied dance style offerings such as African Dance, Hip-Hop and Krump.
  • Health & Well-being support, screenings, and body conditioning classes
  • Workshops
  • Careers advice and focused skill building for those auditioning for universities
  • Performance projects at The Place and theatres across London
  • Collaborative projects with other CATs or youth dance projects
  • Organised theatre trips
How do I apply?

To join CAT you must fill out an Application Form and attend an Admissions Workshop at The Place.

During the admissions workshop, applicants will take part in a 2-hour practical workshop in front of a small panel following a tour of the building. Parents and carers are invited to attend a presentation on CAT to find out more about the programme.

You do not need any previous formal dance training to apply, but you must be aged between 11-17 years on 1 September and have an appetite towards dance.

After the Admissions Workshop, the CAT team will be in touch via email to let you know if you will be starting with us in September.

We also offer a range of taster days and open events for you to visit The Place and get a thorough understanding of what CAT offers.

How much does it cost?

The CAT programme is generously funded by the Department for Education Music and Dance Scheme (MDS), allowing us to provide grants and support young people from all backgrounds. These grants are means-tested, and awarded based on household income.

The total course fee is £4,032 with this being the maximum amount of grant awarded.

Full breakdown of how our grants are awarded can be seen under fees and funding.

Health and Wellbeing

You are assessed throughout the year by the CAT physiotherapy team to ensure you are developing physically, technically, and creatively. We are also monitoring your growth and health, whilst safeguarding against injury. Alongside this, you have an Individual Training Plan (ITP). The ITP gives us the opportunity to work with students and families to ensure the training provision is balanced in terms of hours and activity.

You work with your teachers to set your own personal goals and targets. At the end of each academic year, we provide feedback and an opportunity for you to discuss your progression.

The CAT team also offer pastoral care to support you on your journey through CAT. We host supplementary workshops on nutrition, safe practice, and physical and mental health support.

CAT Associates

The CAT Associate programme is pre-CAT training provision for students who display potential at the admission workshops for CAT but are not quite ready for the full programme yet. CAT Associates is a stepping-stone to CAT whereby successful applicants join our mid-week classes on either a Tuesday or Wednesday after school. This opportunity is only accessible to those students who live in or around London, or are able to travel to London.

The aim of CAT Associates is to further develop and support young people who we feel are not quite ready for the rigours of the full programme or whose other commitments do not enable them to join the full CAT programme.

Commitment and classes as a CAT Associate

As part of the Associate programme you will participate in our mid-week classes, gaining access to our world class teaching staff while benefitting from the support and direction of the CAT management team.

This is an annual commitment starting each September, running across three academic terms.

This is designed to be a springboard onto the full CAT scheme but there is no guarantee a place will be offered. You will automatically be invited to apply at the end of the year but will be monitored throughout the academic year by our faculty. In exceptional circumstances you may be invited directly on to the programme if you demonstrate qualities that we look for in a CAT student.


The cost for the CAT Associate programme is £500 for the year and includes:

  • Weekly contemporary and ballet classes with CAT teachers
  • Pastoral support from the CAT management team
  • Signposting and advice
  • Potential progression onto the CAT programme

Fees and Funding

The total course fee is £4,032 with this being the maximum amount of grant awarded.

Dependents Allowance: The allowance for the 2023/24 school year will be £2,264.

Below is a breakdown of how grants are awarded for each income band for 2023-24:

Relevant IncomeGrant AwardedYour Contribution
Up to £32,728£4,0320
£32,728.01 to £37,093£3,646£386
£37,093.01 to £41,457£3,262£770
£41,457.01 to £45,877£2,853£1,179
£45,877.01 to £50,185£2,479£1,553
£50,185.01 to £54,548£2,101£1,931
£54,548.01 to £59,386£1,729£2,303
£59,386.01 to £63,278£1,344£2,688
£63,278.01 to £67,642£961£3,071
£67,642.01 to £72,003£577£3,455
£72,003.01 or moreNIL£4,032

Without the funding I wouldn’t have been able to afford the kind of high-quality training CAT offered or even be able to travel to London for it! The funding made it possible to take the first steps towards professional dance training.

CAT Graduate

Three people are sitting on the floor in a discussion, one is the teacher Phil Hill. One student has their fingertips and thumbs touching and is mid talking, the other is looking towards them and appears to be listening.
CAT students in discussion with teacher Phil Hill. Credit: Henry Curtis 2022

CAT Alumni

CAT develops your confidence, self-determination and transferable skills. Our alumni have gone on to study a range of subjects at university level and have become professional dance makers, performers, teachers, artists, leaders and educators as well as doctors, lawyers, historians, computer programmers, engineers, actors, architects, film makers and the list goes on.

We encourage our students to be brave and make a difference in the world wherever their inspiration takes them.

Meet the Team

Ballet Faculty

Contemporary and Creative Faculty

Frequently Asked Questions

Read FAQs asked by parents and students to know more about the programme.