I gained a place on the CAT scheme in 2012 where I trained for 3 years, gaining knowledge that I still use today and has helped me throughout my career.
How did you discover the CAT scheme?
I discovered the CAT scheme through online advertisement and gaining further information from speaking to NSCD about the scheme. I then attended what I thought was the taster workshop, but during that time of the taster workshop, I soon realized it was stage one of the audition.
What had been your experience of dance before the CAT scheme?
Before joining the CAT scheme at the age of 15 I had danced since I was little in a variety of dance genres, which included Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Latin and commercial. I had very little knowledge about Contemporary dance before I attended the audition so it was a new style and way of moving which I was eager to discover and learn more about.
What has the CAT scheme taught you?
The scheme taught me a lot throughout my three years of training, one the most valuable ones is determination and that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to because you are a lot stronger and capable than what you think you are. Alongside determination, you are taught discipline, technique, creativeness, self-care and the chance to expand your own knowledge in Contemporary dance.
Where has the scheme led you so far?
CAT led me to study a degree at Bird College for Professional Dance and Musical theatre, since graduating in 2019 I have worked with Stopgap Dance Company, The Tribe Company, Theatre Rites, Resident Island Dance Theatre, Candoco Dance Company and Emily Robinson Dance Company. Without everything that the CAT scheme taught me I would not have had the opportunity to study and work with these companies.
What are any of your future aspirations?
My future aspirations are to continue working with a variety of dance companies and demonstrate that just because you have a disability it really does not stop you achieving what someone without one can do.
I would like society to come to a place where we do not class certain companies as disabled or inclusive because I believe it’s time to accept individuals without the label of disabled but appreciated each other for the talent they have.
What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in auditioning?
If you are interested in auditioning I would definitely consider applying because you have nothing to lose and will gain knowledge during the audition about Contemporary dance. The scheme provides you with intense training and develops your training and you as an individual. The audition is a relaxed and friendly atmosphere that gives you the chance to explore the genre and is an opportunity you will not regret.
What impact has the financial support of a Department for Education Grant had on your dancing?
Without the financial support of the department for education grant, I would not have been able to access this training, therefore it would have impacted my dance training and without this training, I would have not been in the position I am today.
Finally is there anything else you would like to add?
I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to be a part of it as a young disabled artist and the scheme enabled me to develop skills I did not think I had and I will always cherish this experience for the rest of my life.
Photo by Chris Parkes