Get Your Groove On At The Lowry

"I was taught life lessons that I’ve applied to my career, my view on life and now pass on to the next generation of dancers" Isaac Bowry
March 21, 2023

It's imperative that our young people are given every opportunity to follow their own path - wherever it might lead.

It is not widely publicised, but my own life should - and could - have been so different, had I been supported to 'follow that dream' - rather than have it checked by an exasperated parent:

It was a Sunday evening in the early 90s at the 'Nelson Bop' - and with my great friend George, our rendition of Sonny and Cher's 'I Got You Babe' was drawing to a close - delighting the crowd of kettled drinkers - when it just happened: As we were about to leave the stage, our favourite duo was replaced with another - Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes and their '(I've Had) The Time Of My Life'. We stopped in our tracks.

The single look was enough. An about-turn was greeted with a definite example of audience participation, as a dance routine (now consigned to south-coast folklore), flowed from our bodies.

George - a moustached man-mountain of Royal Marine Commando, left me in no doubt that the big-finish 'lift' was achievable. And it was. In fact it was transcendental (for me. Not him). I don't recall how long I was aloft, but in that period - tectonic plates moved. I was a dancer. The 'not fitting in' was over. I had found my tribe.

Following celebration and further 'hydration' - I knew I must share news of my awakening with my parents - who at that moment were sleeping in the North of England. Locating a phone box (ask an old person), I punched in their number. The detail of exactly how the subsequent conversation unfurled is, decades later, still blurred behind tears - but after establishing I had not sustained a head injury - there were instructions connected with 'pulling up of socks' and a confirmation that "you are not Billy Bloody Elliot, Sunshine". Crushed - I stepped from Giles Gilbert Scott's example of what is possible - if we dare to dream and returned to my 'real world'.

If you've got some moves: This IS for you!

Recruitment is about to kick off for aspiring young movers aged 11-16 from across the Northwest, who are passionate about dance and interested in exploring this art form further, even pursuing a career in dance.

The Lowry CAT is holding an audition on Sunday 11th June 2023 for entry onto 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 23rd and 14th May. The workshops will give a strong insight into what life is like on the scheme and will prepare participants to audition for The Lowry CAT should they wish to. There will also be one in Cumbria in May.

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. 

The CAT is part of a national programme funded by the Department of Education’s Music and Dance Scheme (MDS). Centres for Advanced Training (CATs) exist to help identify and assist children with exceptional potential, regardless of their personal circumstances, to benefit from world-class specialist training as part of a broad and balanced education. This will enable them, if they choose, to proceed towards self-sustaining careers in music and dance.

Isaac Bowry - Dancer From Stockport

Since its inception in 2004, the National Dance CATs have been providing young people with accessible and inspirational dance training. Successful applicants are able to access highly specialised dance training in their locality, whilst continuing to live at home. Not only does The Lowry CAT offer weekly intensive training throughout the year in Contemporary Technique, Ballet Technique, Choreography and Health & Wellbeing, but in addition, dancers are offered the unique opportunity to work creatively to develop their artistic and creative skills not only during their weekly sessions but also with professional dance companies & artists such as Akram Khan Company, Studio Wayne McGregor , Phoenix Dance Theatre, Rambert Dance Company, to name a few, in intensive workshops and courses.

As part of the MDS funding, several means-tested grants are available for families, allowing the widest possible access across the Northwest region.

Sally Wyatt, Centre for Advanced Training Manager said, “We are looking for young people who demonstrate potential in and enthusiasm for dance. We are holding auditions for places on The Lowry CAT and we will be looking closely at the potential of each student regardless of their previous dance experience and personal circumstances.”

CAT Centres are pioneers in pre-vocational training and research, promoting best practice and providing exceptional and innovative tuition to young people, regardless of their personal circumstances. The primary aim of the scheme is to provide a strong foundation from which students can access professional training conservatoires, advancing their potential towards a sustainable and successful career in dance whether as a performer, choreographer or otherwise.

Mathew Rawcliffe - Dancer From Manchester

The training programme has a highly successful track record, graduates from the course have gone on to study dance at major UK conservatories &vocational schools including London Contemporary Dance School (The Place); Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance; the Northern School of Contemporary Dance; Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance; Central School of Ballet; Bird College of Performing Arts.

Alumni of the scheme have gone on to perform with companies such as Matthew Bourne's New Adventures, Motion house, Southpaw Dance Company, Jasmin Vardimon 2, Disneyland Paris, Fallen Angels Dance Theatre; VERVE Graduate Dance Company and many more...

As well as performing in dance companies, some CAT Alumni have set uptheir own dance companies. CAT Alumni also go into dance-related careers such as in choreography, directing, teaching, project management, physiotherapy.


Experience The Lowry CAT Dance Improvisation and Devising Workshop – Thursday 30th March 2023 5.30-7.30 pm

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 & Cumbria Youth Dance Open Day at Newbiggin Hall – Sunday 20th May2023

Audition Preparation Classes: The Lowry CAT Audition Prep Drop-In Sessions – Thursdays 4.45-5.45pm from Thursday 11th May – Thursday 9th June


The Lowry CAT Audition – Sun 11th June 2023
The Lowry, Salford Quays, Greater Manchester
Age 10-16 [must be 11 on 1st September2023] | 9.15am start to finish at approx. 5.30pm

Application forms to audition available on request from


Email: toregister your interest

Places for open days can be booked through:
The Lowry Box Office - 0843 208 6000 –available soon
The Lowry Website – available soon

More information about this year’s Lowry CAT Audition Day will be provided upon attendance at an Open Day.

Application forms for auditions can be downloaded from The Lowry website from the 23rd April 2023 and will be available at all Open Days.

Further information about The Lowry CAT can be found on the Northwest Dance page on The Lowry website: Dance Training | GetCreative | The Lowry
Information about the National Centre’s for Advanced Training in Dance can be found on the National CAT website. CATs | National Centres for Advanced Training (

Header Image: Salford's Holly Rush