Centre for Advanced Training (CAT), at The Place, is for young people aged 11 -18 years who have a passion for dance and is funded by the Music and Dance Scheme (MDS), Department for Education. The programme focuses on contemporary dance, creative studies and ballet. All classes are taught by our experienced dance teachers and accompanied by live musicians. You will work with visiting artists and dance companies to develop a range of skills including collaboration, performing, and adaptability. Join CAT and be part of a community of like-minded young people from a diverse range of backgrounds who love to dance.

a glimpse of what to expect at CATWatch Now

CAT gave me the skills I needed to pursue dance as a career. More importantly though, the chance to work with dedicated teachers and dancers of my own age.

CAT graduate

Two young students wearing glasses and dance clothing are working together. They have their arms outstretched to the side and are speaking to each other. In the background there are three other dancers
CAT students in studio Credit: Henry Curtis 2022

Our Aim

Our aim at CAT is to provide you with fun and inspirational dance training, no matter what your background or personal circumstances are. This will help you, if you choose, to go into a successful career in the dance industry.

Things you need to know

How do I Apply?

To join CAT must attend an Admission Workshop. To do this, complete an online application form and once submitted, you will be invited to attend our Admission Workshop at The Place. The Admission Workshop will have a creative classes and a contemporary dance class. There will be a talk delivered by the CAT team about the programme and a tour of The Place. You do not need any previous dance training to apply, but you must be aged between 11-17 years.

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

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

Being on the CAT programme was an experience that I will never forget. It was a place where dance was taken seriously, and aspirations were made achievable.
What do CAT look for when applying?
  • Potential: a natural ability
  • Enthusiasm: a passion for dance and a hunger to learn
  • Commitment: a dedication to dance training and self-discipline

We asked our alumni community what advice they would give to someone considering applying for CAT, here is what some said:

Anything is possible as long as you have a positive mindset, believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Do it! Go for it! Don’t worry about the end result just enjoy the experiences as much as possible.
Go for it because you never know where it will take you.
How much does it cost?

CAT is non-residential and is generously funded by the Music and Dance Scheme (MDS), Department for Education. 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 will receive expenses for mid-week dance classes and travel to The Place.

Total fee: £3,808

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.
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

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
  • Physical Health support; screenings and body conditioning classes
  • Workshops
  • Careers advice and focusing skill building for to 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
I enjoyed having the opportunity to work with professional dance artists and experience dance within a professional setting. I loved the intensive dance weeks, working with different dance companies, being creative and learning repertoire.
My Health and Wellbeing

You are assessed throughout the year by the CAT team to ensure you are developing physically, technically, and creatively. It is also monitoring your growth, 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.

It was a place of safety for me. A place of friends and family, of movement, exploration, and development. It was an extremely special period of my life that still brings me joy and inspiration today.
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 studios Credit: Henry Curtis 2022

What are CATS?

CAT is part of a National Programme which launched in 2004 and is funded by the Department for Education Music and Dance Scheme. CATs exist to identify, and assist, young people with exceptional potential, regardless of their background and experience, to benefit from world-class specialist training whilst living at home and staying at school. Read more about the National CAT programmes here.

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.

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.

‘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

Meet the Team

Vicky, Irad and Brittany make up the CAT team.

Ballet Faculty

Contemporary and Creative Faculty

Physical Therapy Faculty

CAT Summer Show