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Former Turton School dancer with spinal injury wants to inspire others


Erin's passion for dance helped her through gruelling year of physio and now she hopes to help other young dancers to achieve their dreams

Former Turton School dancer with spinal injury wants to inspire others


"We will be looking for those young people who demonstrate exceptional potential, commitment and enthusiasm for dance rather than those who have had the most formal training"
Sally Wyatt, The Lowry CAT scheme manager



A Bolton dancer who was once told she may never perform again hopes to inspire a new generation to reach for the stars.

As a student, Erin Pollitt, injured her spine so badly during a rehearsal, doctors told her she might have to give up dancing altogether

But the 24-year-old said she was determined to fight her grim prognosis and battled through a year of rehabilitation in order to get back on the stage.

Erin, from Bromley Cross, went on to graduate from the Northern School for Contemporary Dance in Leeds and then to complete a Masters at London Contemporary Dance School. She has since toured internationally with a range of contemporary dance companies, performing in countries including Switzerland, Finland, Portugal and Italy. She also set up her own dance company, called Matter of Fact, just before the pandemic struck.

Things have now come full circle for the former Turton School student, who has taken up a part time tutor position with the flagship young people's dance programme that helped her to first put on her dancing shoes when she was just 12-year-old.

For Erin, who also performed as an international level rhythmic gymnast as a child, it all started when she was accepted into The Centre for Advanced Training in Dance (CAT), based at The Lowry arts centre in Salford.

One of 10 nationwide centres of excellence for dance - and the only one in the north west - The Lowry CAT scheme is an intensive, part time, training programme for young people who aim to pursue a career in dance. Funded by the Department for Education, the programme fits around schooling, taking place during evenings and weekends as well as an Easter holidays intensive.

Erin said: "As a child I was seriously into rhythmic gymnastics and started competing nationally and internationally. My coach told me that in order to progress to the top, my family would need to relocate from Bolton to London, to access the best training. This was just never going to happen!

"So, encouraged by my dance teacher at Turton School, Laura Atkinson (then Haygarth), I decided to put my energies into dance and I applied for the CAT scheme at The Lowry.

"It was the best thing I ever did. We were like a big family and some of my closest friends are people I met on the programme.

"We all had a shared love of dance; it was such a brilliant community of people and lots of my work contacts even now come from my days at The Lowry CAT.

"The teachers were inspirational. I had found my people and I didn't have to move to London!"

Whilst studying for her Masters degree, Erin wrote her thesis on the psychological impact of injury on dancers, drawing on her own experience. It proved so insightful, it was later published in an academic journal called Journal of Dance Medicine and Science. Erin hopes to one day work with injured dancers, counselling them through difficult times.

Sally Wyatt, CAT manager, said: "As a student, Erin was a committed and exemplary member of the programme. We are delighted to have her back as a tutor, especially as it is almost audition time again.

"Although entry to the programme is through an audition process, we will look closely at the potential of each student regardless of their previous dance experience.

"We will be looking for those young people who demonstrate exceptional potential, commitment and enthusiasm for dance rather than those who have had the most formal training."

Young dancers are invited to have a taste of what it's like to join the CAT dance programme at an open day at The Lowry on Sunday 20 June from 9.30-1.30pm. Attendees will be able to speak to tutors and students and also take part in a workshop.

An alternative Zoom-based open evening will run on Friday 18 June (4.45-6.45pm).

Anyone wanting to try out for a September place on the Lowry CAT scheme can pick up an application form at the open day or download one from the website, ahead of auditions on Sunday 27 June.

 

Places for the open day must be booked in advance via The Lowry box office on T: 0843 208 6000 or website

 

More information is available from Daisy Howell  daisy.howell@thelowry.com or Clare Fildes clare.fildes@thelowry.com / 07983485273

 

 

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