Joey Barton joined the Trinity Laban CAT programme in 2011. During his time on CAT he worked with artists such as Tavaziva Dance, Mafalda Deville, Aurtha Pita and Wina Burnett-Smith for Hofesh Shechter Company.
How did you discover the CAT scheme?
Through chance, I managed to find the CAT scheme. I followed friends to an after-school club which then led me onto a weekday class at the Laban building. I was very fortunate to have been at the Laban building when the auditions for CAT were on.
What had been your experience of dance before the CAT scheme?
Little to none. None of my family were dancers and I had not had any formal dance training before CAT.
What has the CAT scheme taught you?
The CAT scheme taught me about people and how healthy it is to be around others who share your interests and passion. If the people around you are supportive it becomes very easy to persevere and seek what you want to do. It also means that they understand what you are feeling and are going through the same emotions which creates an amazing, supportive network.
Where has the scheme led you so far?
The scheme gave me the initial capabilities to perform and be confident with myself. This led me to be able to train at The Place and Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, win awards in the Hannover Choreography competition and now become a dancer with the BalletBoyz Dance Company.
What are any of your future aspirations?
To carry on performing and entertaining audiences. To be as creative as I can be through making dance work or developing collaborations with all kinds of artists whether through the arts, politics or business etc. My main aspiration is to keep learning from the artists around me.
What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in auditioning?
To really not be afraid of no. The fear of rejection can stop people from going for what they want to do. If the no comes it’s important to take it on the chin, brush it off and carry on!
What impact has the financial support of a Department for Education Grant had on your dancing?
The Department for Education grant was a huge help toward me being able to be a part of the CAT scheme. My family would not have been able to give me the opportunity to go to CAT if it had not been for the financial support of the Department for Education grant. Without this, I would have never found the love for dance that I have now and would have ended my dance career when I was just 13 years old.
Finally, is there anything else you would like to add?
I wanted to say a massive thank you to the CAT scheme as it helped me so much. Not just in dance, but for me to be confident around all types of people and discover great friendships which I still have to this day.
Photo by Rick Guest.