I was fourteen when I was introduced to the realms of contemporary dance. Having only previously attended ballet classes, it was intrigue alone that lead me to audition for the Point Training Scheme in 2016. Previously named the Hampshire Satellite CAT Scheme, I had no idea of what to expect from my audition or the route that contemporary dance would take me down. I remember receiving my audition confirmation letter in the post, covering it in lucky four leaf clover doodles and pinning it against my bedroom wall- all in the hope that this would grant me luck for the audition. It did.
My emotions were completely mixed on the morning of the audition. I was partially terrified. How difficult was the audition going to be? What if I didn’t make any friends? What if everyone else was better than me? Yet, I couldn’t help but feel outlandishly excited. I was about to audition for one of the best contemporary training platforms in Hampshire, in one of the country’s most renowned contemporary dance centres.
The audition was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. I had never visited The Point before, meaning I was totally unaware of its amazing facilities before I arrived. Auditions take place
in the dance studio and are two hours in duration, usually consisting of a contemporary technique class, followed by a creative session. Auditionees are taught a variety of contemporary dance sequences in the technique class, which are then performed in smaller groups within the space. Although I had never studied contemporary dance prior to my audition, I found that I was able to pick up the material with more ease than I expected, aided by the scheme’s contemporary tutor, Carrie. Due to the friendly and encouraging nature of the class, it was easy to forget that I was taking part in an audition, instead I felt as if I was simply dancing in a workshop.
The creative session was particularly exciting. In partners, we were asked to choreograph a phrase – we could do anything- in a task like this, there were no right or wrong answers. We were then given the chance to develop what we had choreographed by switching partners and merging what we had previously created. This was especially fun and allowed me to interact with my future Point Training Scheme peers. Despite feeling exhausted, I left the audition even happier than when I entered- I ran straight back to my Dad’s car, before bursting into a speech about how much I had enjoyed it.
I adored the scheme so much that I decided to re-audition and be a part of it for a second year. Having been completely new to contemporary dance, I was able to see such an improvement and development within my dancing right from the very beginning of the scheme.
The classes are intense. When I first began the scheme, the sheer concept of dancing for 3.5 hours exhausted me. The classes are designed to push you, to inspire you and allow you to explore your full potential within both ballet and contemporary dance styles. This exposure to challenging choreography allows you as a dancer to quickly improve and start thinking creatively.
The scheme runs sessions twice monthly and includes ballet and contemporary technique classes, alongside creative sessions. If you haven’t studied either dance style, do not be put off auditioning. Both Carrie (contemporary tutor) and Fiona (ballet tutor) and very supportive, whether you’re a beginner or have experience in either dance style. In the ballet classes, we would often be given options of what version of an exercise to do, depending on how confident you were with the steps.
The scheme isn’t just about classes, though. We took part in a creative intensive weekend, where we choreographed a whole contemporary dance performance piece, which was then performed at The Point’s theatre and at The Place Theatre in London. This gave us a feel for the demands of the fast paced dance industry, allowed us to work on our choreography skills and to showcase what we had learnt as Point Training Scheme members.
Thanks to the Point Training Scheme I fell in love with contemporary dance. I began the scheme knowing nothing about contemporary and now, two years later, I consider it to be my main dance style. The scheme helped me prepare for dance college auditions (I have recently begun studying dance full time at Chichester College) and has enabled other dancers who have attended the Point Training Scheme to successfully audition for Hampshire Youth Dance Company.
If you’re a young dancer aged 11-15 years with passion, determination and commitment for dance, apply for an audition. Regardless of how much experience you have or whatever your favourite dance style may be, if you want to take your dance training to the next level, The Point Training Scheme is the right course for you.
After all, if you don’t give it a go, then what’s The Point?
- Mia Lyndon