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The Lowry CAT: Manchester’s world-class dance training scheme producing top-tier performers!

The Lowry CAT scheme is a dance training program for young people who wish to pursue a career in dance.

It offers pre-vocational training alongside formal curriculum education without the need to leave home.

The program is based at The Lowry, which provides a supportive environment where students can be challenged and inspired physically and artistically.

The program offers technique and creative classes, and students are encouraged to develop their unique artistic voice through choreography, devising, and improvisation.

They are holding an audition on Sunday 11th June 2023 for entry into the intensive dance training scheme from September 2023.

The Lowry Centre for Advanced Training in Dance [CAT] is part of the Department for Education’s national Music and Dance Scheme.

In advance of the audition, young people are invited to attend The Lowry CAT Open Days & Experience Workshops, held at The Lowry on April 23 rd and 14th May.

Workshops will give a strong insight into what life is like on the scheme and will prepare participants to audition for The Lowry CAT.

Training focuses on contemporary dance and includes other techniques such as ballet, PBT, yoga, injury prevention, and health and wellbeing provisions.

The program also offers means-tested grant funding to support eligible families and make the training accessible regardless of personal circumstances.

The CAT scheme has produced successful graduates who are performing, teaching, and choreographing across the world.

We spoke with one of the scheme’s managers, Sally Wyatt who is helping dancers from across the UK get their foot in the doors of this competitive industry.

We sat down with Sally Wyatt, the scheme’s Director, to learn more.

“The open days provide an in-depth insight into what life with The Lowry CAT is like,” Sally told us.

“We encourage all interested young people to attend before audition. Students take part in technique and creative classes with our experienced team, and there will be current students present to support.”

But that’s not all! The Lowry CAT also offers one-off Experience Workshops that focus on specific skills like improvisation or choreography.

And this term, the weekly Open Classes will be focused on audition preparation skills. Sally explained that “all the Lowry CAT workshops give participants a feel for the dance training available with the training scheme.”

But what does it take to make the cut and get accepted into the Lowry CAT scheme? “We look for young people who have the potential to grow as technical dancers and creative artists,” Sally revealed. “We’re not looking for years of technical experience, but we do look to ensure that the young people have the facility within their bodies and the maturity to take on the intensity of the training.”

So what are the benefits of participating in the Lowry CAT scheme? “Our students gain a strong pre-vocational training alongside their formal curriculum education without needing to leave home,” Sally explained. “The Department for Education means-tested grant funding provides financial support for eligible families to support and, in many cases, fully fund training costs; making this world-class, specialist training affordable and accessible to young people regardless of personal circumstances.”

And the proof is in the pudding! Sally told us about some of the success stories of graduates of the Lowry CAT scheme. “Most graduates from the scheme choose to go onto vocational training or to train in something connected with dance such as physiotherapy,” she said. “So many of our students are performing, teaching, and choreographing across the world.”

So what does a typical day in the life of a Lowry CAT student look like? “CAT students train at The Lowry every Saturday and one evening a week during term time,” Sally told us.

“Our program aims to prepare our young dancers for full-time vocational training and introduce them to what a dance career may look like so they can make an informed decision about their next steps.”

And finally, how can families apply for means-tested grants to help cover the costs of the program? “Families’ financial circumstances are reviewed annually, and support is available to families whose income falls below £68,575 per annum (2021/2022 figures),” Sally explained. “Students who are eligible and who receive an offer of a place will be sent information about how to apply for the grant.”

If you’re interested in a career in Dance, you can get involved on the following days:

Experience The Lowry CAT

Performance and Audition Skills – Thursday 4th May 2023 5.30-7.30 pm

Open Days:

The Lowry CAT Open Days – Sun 23rd April 2023 & Sunday 14th May 2023 The Lowry, Salford Quays | Greater Manchester 9.15 am – 2 pm | Age 10-16

The Lowry CAT is open to young people aged between 11 and 16 (once on the scheme you can stay until 18) who would like to explore dance in more depth and commit to intensive training to develop their full potential physically and artistically in dance.

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