Christian Griffin joined the DanceXchange CAT (contemporary strand) in 2015.
How did you discover the CAT scheme?
One day I was spotted busking in Birmingham City Centre to join a local male youth group. The group leader sign posted me to the programme so I auditioned.
What had been your experience of dance before the CAT scheme?
I mainly danced on the streets in Birmingham battling and performing hip hop. I had started to discover contemporary through joining Man Made Youth.
What has the CAT scheme taught you?
The programme gave me the creative tools to evolve my own individual style and provided a nurturing environment for me to explore the artistic possibilities across contemporary and hip hop. I gained a broad palate of dance techniques and learnt invaluable skills such as discipline, dedication and accountability.
Where has the scheme led you so far?
It led me to gain a place at National Youth Dance Company for two years and has created a longer-term drive to see choreography as part of my future development and career direction. I have recently opened my own Street Dance Academy, ‘Brums Dynasty’ at a family run Youth Centre in Inner City Birmingham for youth who, like myself, have talent and a passion for dance, but who could never afford to pay for any kind of professional training. I have also been selected for BBC Young Dancer 2019 as a category finalist for Street Dance.
What are your future aspirations?
My dream is to open up, to as many of these young people as possible, longer term aspirations and the same kind of opportunities that were opened up for me – this will include introducing them, for example, to the CAT programme so that can also access the same high quality training. My personal aspiration is to hopefully place the Academy at the heart of the region’s hip hop development and become a renowned hip hop battler.
What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in auditioning?
Be yourself and be in the moment – don’t try to fit a certain criteria or be something you think they are looking for. Showcase your individuality and have confidence in your own ability. If you give your all, you have nothing to regret!
What impact has the financial support of a Department for Education Grant had on your dancing?
This opportunity changed my life. Without the funded place that was offered to me, I would never have been in a position to access such professional training which has transformed my life as a dancer and has given me aspirations that I never thought were possible.