My name is Dan Baines and I am 17 years old. I am now in my fourth year on the contemporary programme with the Youth Dance Academy (YDA), Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) at Swindon Dance. I am also currently in year 13 at my local Sixth Form studying Dance, Physical Education and Psychology.
I was introduced to the CAT scheme by taking regular classes at Swindon Dance and receiving a ‘you’ve been spotted’ card which is an invitation to audition for the Youth Dance Academy. I successfully did so and felt incredibly welcomed to be a part of the CAT scheme. From my perspective, after being part of the academy for several years now, the main focus is to ensure that every individual achieves what they wish.
For most of the individuals, this is to pursue a career in dance so the numbers that audition for conservatoires annually are quite large, meaning that many students go on to successfully train at conservatoires and then enter the professional world. The academy runs sessions before the standard weekly training day which are purely for auditioning students and this hour keeps us informed regarding our auditions and helps us produce applications to the best quality possible.
I believe the best part of the CAT is having the opportunity to work with professional choreographers and dancers in the half term breaks in intensives at Swindon Dance. This gives us an insight to the professional world of dance which in my case, fuels my desire towards taking up such career.
I wish I knew how much the CAT scheme would’ve benefitted me before I joined because I would’ve auditioned sooner. The level of teaching is one of the highest levels in the country and I feel privileged to be a part of such a rewarding experience that has pushed me to progress to lengths I originally thought were impossible.