Centre for Advanced Training - Northern School of Contemporary Dance

About CAT

Northern School of Contemporary Dance’s (NSCD) Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) is part of a national intensive dance programme devised to prepare young dancers for full-time dance training at university or specialist conservatoire level.

The CAT scheme at NSCD is a pre vocational training programme specialising in Contemporary dance technique. We work with young people aged between 13 – 17 years who have passion, drive, artistry, commitment, creativity and ambition to fulfil their aspirations in dance.

Interested young people do not need to have previous experience of dance. Instead we are looking for enthusiastic, ambitious and determined young people with an interest in pursuing a career in dance.

* Please note all students have to be 13 – 17 on the 1st of September but can turn 18 during the year of study.

Since its launch in 2004 the CAT scheme, funded by the Department for Education (DFE), has offered young people the opportunity to access high-quality dance training whilst staying in full-time education and living at home. Means-tested grants are available to make the scheme accessible to all young people. For more information, please visit the National Dance CAT website.

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Centres for Advanced Training (CATs) in Dance aim to:

“help identify, and assist, children with exceptional potential, regardless of their personal circumstances, to benefit from world-class specialist training as part of a broad and balanced education. This will enable them, if they choose to proceed towards self-sustaining careers in dance.”

The curriculum at NSCD is intended to give students a strong basic grounding in technical and creative skills, as well as an introduction to the wider dance profession; it includes tuition in five key areas:

  • Technique
  • Creative dance and choreography
  • Performance
  • Dancers’ health and wellbeing
  • Cultural activities such as theatre and gallery trips, workshops and volunteering opportunities.

The scheme equips our dancers with the necessary skills to progress on to professional vocational dance training. Previous students have trained at dance conservatoires, universities and vocational training such as NSCD, Trinity Laban, London Contemporary Dance School, Rambert School, Urdang Academy, Bird College and LIPA, this list is not exhaustive.

Entry requirements:

Entry is through successful audition and interview. Candidates may have been invited to audition from a Taster Workshop, Outreach Workshop, or booked a place at our Stage One Audition as part of the process. No formal qualifications are required.

"CAT taught me so much. Not only about dance and professional practice but how to develop and grow as a young artist and developing teenager...it allowed me to attend conservatoire auditions with a maturity that made me stand out from others. " CAT alumnus Sam Baxter


If you have any questions about the CAT scheme please contact Molly Watson:
0113 219 3025

Visit the National CAT website for detailed information about the CAT scheme including finance and frequently asked questions.