Charis Crudgington joined the Trinity Laban CAT programme in 2011. During her time on CAT she worked with artists such as Wayne McGregor Random Dance, Frantic Assembly, Rosie Kay and Lee Smikle.
How did you discover the CAT scheme?
My parents took me to Trinity Laban from around the age of 2 to do parent and toddler creative classes on Saturday mornings. We always used to see CAT students walking around the building and I loved to peer through the window to see what they were doing. I thought they were amazing. I showed my Saturday morning dance teacher a dance routine I made for my school talent show and she recommended that I audition.
What had been your experience of dance before the CAT scheme?
I did ballet classes at my local ballet school. I wasn’t the best at ballet but always did well in the ”free
movement” section of the exams which was more contemporary. I did gymnastics but my coach suggested I focus on dance as I loved the movement elements in the floor routines. I also did creative children classes on Saturday mornings at Trinity Laban and got put into weekday classes (Boost and Launch) which projected me into the CAT scheme.
What has the CAT scheme taught you?
The CAT scheme taught me the rigour and focus I needed in order to train to be a professional dancer. Before I joined the CAT scheme I had a very rigid view of dance, I think I thought it was mainly ballerinas in tutus. The CAT scheme taught me that dance is so much more than that, I could be creative and make weird and wonderful things that excited me. It helped me to understand that I am an artist with my own passions and that I could make dance whatever I wanted it to be for myself.
Where has the scheme led you so far?
I did the CAT scheme for 6 years and with the help of my teachers was lucky enough to gain a place at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. I spent three years training there and absolutely loved it. Despite my degree ending in the middle of a global pandemic, I graduated with a first and was delighted to receive a place as part of the Transitions Dance Company at Trinity Laban, where I now study a Masters in Dance Performance. I also have the pleasure of being a teaching assistant at the Trinity Laban CAT scheme. I am so glad that I get to watch other young dancers grow and evolve just as I did.
What are any of your future aspirations?
I am excited to see the opportunities that arise out of my Master’s degree. I love performing work, choreographing and teaching. I hope to dance professionally as a self-employed (freelance) dancer and then begin to make my own choreography. Dancers in these times need to be multifaceted and able to pick up multiple career paths, so I am excited to see where this leads me. Whatever happens as long as dance is involved in some way I am sure I will be happy.
What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in auditioning?
Apply! You have nothing to lose. Being in the CAT scheme was one of the best things I ever did for myself. In auditions my advice would be to show how much you love dancing. I have never been the best dancer in the room but I always try and show those who are watching my audition how much I enjoy being there. It always gets noticed. Try your best to be enthusiastic about picking up material, listening to corrections and make sure you don’t lose focus. They seem like small things but it makes a huge difference to those who are teaching you and watching you. Also, don’t worry too much about getting things wrong and messing up material, it happens to the best of us and an audition panel can still see how talented you are even when things go wrong.
What impact has the financial support of a Department for Education Grant had on your dancing?
Without the grant I really wouldn’t be the dancer I am today. It made training as part of the scheme for 6 years financially possible for my family.
Photo by Elly Welford Photography.