How did you discover the CAT scheme?
We were mid-contract in Disney’s The Lion King Musical in the West End. We had only beginner’s skills in African and Street Dance, no technical training thus far. Our dear friend Geoffrey, who also played Young Simba alternately, told us that he was auditioning for the CAT Scheme and that we should, too. We couldn’t make it to the audition due to performing in the show, so instead we were thrown into a SET 3 or 4 class, and we remember Vicky and Enid watching from the door. The class was on Graham Technique. We suppose Vicky (Vicky Evans, CAT Programme Manager) and Enid saw the potential in us, and nearly six years later, here we are… LOVING the CAT Scheme and our CAT Family as if it were our second home.
What had been your experience of dance before the CAT scheme?
We had dabbled in African Dance for our performances in the Lion King, as well as community Hip-Hop / Street-Classes (very Amateur). If we can remember, I think we took Nicky’s contemporary class once, at Akoma Asa Arts Summer School whilst we were in The Lion King.
What has the CAT scheme taught you?
The CAT Scheme has taught us to stay humble, be grateful, and enjoy dance. CAT has encouraged us to feel freedom when we dance and freedom when dancing with peers. CAT has also given us the confidence to dance on stage. The scheme basically taught us every ounce of technique we needed. We were thrown in in SET 1, with no training at all, no ballet, no contemporary and no creative. The scheme has allowed us to realise our potentials and use them to our full advantage.
Where has the scheme led you so far?
In our Second Year of CAT, we were scouted to appear in a short film directed by Emma Miranda Moore, called ‘Swarm’. Us and a few other CAT Dancers, were transported to a forest in Slough and danced together to create a masterpiece. CAT has also led us to build relationships with teachers from companies such as Richard Alston, Rambert, English National Ballet, Avant Garde, Punchdrunk, Folk Dance Remixed etc… CAT has also led us to embark into the beginning of our presenting career… We started presenting shows in the Robin Howard Theatre: Fresh (December 2018) and The Place Youth Dance Platform (March 2019) and this is all thanks to CAT allowing us to create a relationship with staff at The Place, mainly Lia Prentaki.
What are any of your future aspirations?
Dance-wise, we hope to become highly-skilled in as many styles as possible and go into work commercially booking jobs such as tours, music videos, films etc…
What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in auditioning?
DO IT! DO IT! You only live once, there is no place like CAT.
What impact has the financial support of a Department for Education Grant had on your dancing?
The Financial Support Team at The Place has fully Funded our scholarships at The Place over the last five years. We are extremely grateful for this as we know for a fact, without this grant and without the yearly bursaries, we would not be where we are today. We are eternally thankful.
Finally, is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you to Vicky Evans and Akosua Boakye for CHANGING OUR LIVES.
CAT plays a central part in inspiring and empowering young people from a range of backgrounds to achieve their full potential through world class dance experiences. As a charity we rely on the generous support of individuals to make this happen. If you can support CAT and The Place we urge you to do so, so we can continue this work.