Catherine commenced classical ballet training when she was eleven. Cate was one of the first graduates of the Victorian College of the Arts High School. She studied ballet with Val Tweedie for a year in Sydney and in 1985 completed a Bachelor of Arts (Dance) program at the South Australian College of Advanced Education. In 1986 she joined the Adelaide based Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) under Associate Artistic Director, Lenny Westerjijk. She spent 1986 with ADT before successfully auditioning for Tasdance in 1987.
From 1987 to 1988 Cate danced with Tasdance as a teacher/dancer. Between 1989 and 1990 she completed her Graduate Diploma of Education and returned to Tasdance in 1991 for 3 more years. Catherine choreographed Spoondrift for the company in in 1994.