Joshua Attwood was part of the Dance4 Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) and joined the programme in 2010 when he was just 12. During his time on the Dance4 CAT programme he worked with artists such as Tom Dale, Gary Clarke and Aoi Nakamura.
How did you discover the CAT scheme?
When I was 11, I knew that I enjoyed performing and thought that maybe I would like to keep dancing in the future but never really knew that it was something I could take more seriously as a career. However, my secondary school dance teacher knew that this was how I felt and got me an audition for a training scheme. At the time, because this was to be the pilot year of Dance4 CAT, I had no idea what I was auditioning for. I later found out that I successfully gained a place on the Dance4 CAT scheme, and after accepting I gradually started to discover the CAT scheme as it built itself.
What had been your experience of dance before the CAT scheme?
I first started dancing in primary school with my mum in an after school salsa class, it was there that I really started to enjoy moving and dancing with people. Then when I was at secondary school I started to take Hip-Hop dance and Capoeira classes. Whilst at school, I was part of an acting academy and overtime they suggested that I take their ballet classes, after a short time I left the academy to continue my training at CAT.
What has the CAT scheme taught you?
The CAT scheme not only taught me the foundation of my dance technique in ballet and various contemporary styles, but it also taught me the importance of investing time into developing your own choreographic voice. Nobody else has your body, your length, your humour, your sensation, your history, and that is a privilege; the way your body puts movement into space is completely unique and that should be celebrated. I feel strongly that the Dance4 CAT facilitated my movement research, to allow myself, as an artist, to go far deeper than just proficiency in generating and copying shapes. They encouraged me to play and collaborate and accept and excite. They taught me the value of struggling and the reward of persistence. They enabled me to want things and have desires. I became uniquely multifaceted and mature as a person.
Where has the scheme led you so far?
After graduating from the Dance4 CAT scheme, I went on to train at London Contemporary Dance School for three years where I graduated with First Class Honours. I was also a finalist on BBC Young Dancer 2017 in the contemporary category. I am now working for Rambert Dance Company in Rambert2 and will be completing my Masters degree in October 2019.
What are any of your future aspirations?
I hope to work and perform for a rep company so I can continue to be introduced to more new movement vocabularies. Or at least to work for a company that can allow me to tour. But at the same time the prospect of being a freelance dance artist, is really exciting and I know that I want to start creating my own work at some point in the future but I’m not sure if now is the time for me. Maybe if I find stability within a company it will allow to find opportunities on the side where I can exercise my interest in choreography.
What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in auditioning?
Always try to learn something about yourself in an audition, that way you will always walk away with a positive. There will always be someone better and more experienced, but know that what you have to say with your movement is completely valid and respected. Get ready to surprise yourself.
What impact has the financial support of a Department for Education Grant had on your dancing?
Quite simply, without the financial support I would not have been able to train on the CAT scheme for the amount of time that I did and therefore would not be successful in my own right like I am today. It took financial pressure of my parents and allowed them to continue supporting me in my pursuit to become a professional dancer and eventually gave them more understanding of how a career in dance is completely realistic and possible.
Anything else you think we should know?
I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to me as a result of training on the Dance4 CAT Scheme.
Photo by David Wilson-Clarke.