Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy


Applications for the January 2014 intake on the Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy are now closed.

If you are interested in beginning the programme in January 2015, please download an application form and syllabus here:

Download an application form here.

Download the Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy Syllabus here.

For further information and details of course fees, please email the Education & Training Department at educationassistant@istd.org now!  


The Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy is a vocational dance teaching qualification regulated at Level 6 of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) that builds on previous training, knowledge and experience to develop and refine teaching skills within the context of a chosen dance genre. Geared towards experienced dance teachers and professional dancers looking to move into a teaching career, the programme gives candidates the opportunity to refine their transferrable skills and enable progression within employment and between sectors.

Why choose this programme?

In the increasingly competitive dance sector, it is essential to give yourself the tools needed to sustain a lifelong career in dance teaching and the opportunities to work across both private and public sectors. By investing in and being passionate about your own continuing professional development, you will grow and develop both professionally and personally through the learning and critical reflection process. Furthermore, it should improve your employability.

The ISTD’s Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy programme provides you with everything you need to become the best dance teacher you can be.

-It is an achievable two year, part-time programme that allows you to combine your studies with work and family life.

-It gives you the chance to pursue your teacher training with the ISTD with a genre-specific qualification regulated at Level 6 of the QCF, which is equivalent in level of demand to the final year of a degree.

-This programme is designed to take your teaching to the next level and develop and enhance the skills you already have. You’ll be looking at dance teaching and learning, principles and practice of dance and choreography, health and safety and lifespan within the dance teaching context, and reflective practice.

-It is one qualification that gives you access as a teacher to three different sectors: the private dance teaching sector; the further education sector and the maintained sector. How?

-Being qualified in a specific ISTD genre allows you to enter candidates for ISTD examinations on joining the ISTD as a member. On top of this, on completion of the qualification, you are eligible for Licentiate status of the ISTD in the relevant genre.

-The qualification is considered by the Institute for Learning (IfL) to cover the requirements of the Level 5 Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (DTLLS). This provides you with the opportunity to teach in the further education and skills sector in England and Wales.

-Following the recent decision by the UK Department for Education, further education teachers who have Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status by the IfL and are members of the IfL will be recognised as qualified teachers in state maintained schools. This means that, on completion of this programme and after achieving your QTLS with the IfL, you would also have access to teaching positions in the maintained sector.

If you think this is the programme for you, read on.

Please click on the relevant links below for more information on the qualification.

Qualification overview

An overview of the units

Entry conditions

Application process

Recognition of prior accreditation and achievement

Studying for the qualification

Cost of the programme

Where can I go afterwards

Languages available

Frequently asked questions

Glossary of terms


Qualification overview 

The key objective of the qualification is to provide experienced dance teachers and ex-professional dancers with a programme that builds on their previous training, knowledge and experience. It assesses an advanced level of dance pedagogy throughout the lifespan and is underpinned by an in-depth knowledge of the teaching in a chosen ISTD genre.

The qualification is regulated at Level 6 of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), which is equivalent in level of demand to the final year of a degree. Its total credit value is 213 and its qualification number on the Register of Regulated Qualifications is 600/4269/2. Please click here to see the detailed information available on the Register

The qualification is made up of seven units, four of which are non genre specific and three of which are contextualised within the ISTD genre studied. It can be studied in the following genres: Cecchetti Classical Ballet, Classical Greek Dance, Imperial Classical Ballet, Modern Theatre Dance, National Dance, South Asian Dance (Bharatantyam and Kathak) and Tap Dance. 

An overview of the units

Unit 1: Planning and Evaluating Programmes of Learning – 30 credits at Level 6 

This Unit covers the structure and planning of dance learning within a curriculum. It also looks at assessment as part of the teaching/learning process and evaluation as a tool in the planning of effective learning experiences to meet specific learning outcomes. The Unit embraces the concept of inclusion enabling learners to explore ways of achieving this through effective planning, use of appropriate learning resources and transparent assessment procedures. The study includes understanding curriculum design, evaluating its impact on planning and assessment. The learner also explores the role of the dance teacher in terms of the wider context of legislation, professional standards in teaching and learning and professional codes of conduct. Accountability and the inclusion agenda are critically appraised in relation to dance teaching in the genre.  A study of relationships with other professionals in order to meet students’ needs is also undertaken. 


Unit 2: The Practice of Dance Teaching and Learning in a Chosen Genre – 30 credits at Level 6

This Unit is concerned with both the generic and genre-specific knowledge and skills required for excellence in teaching, which is contextualised within the learner’s chosen genre. This requires an in-depth knowledge of the developmental structure of dance learning within the genre. The learner is required to apply their understanding of learning theory and theories of communication to teaching practice and develop strategies which meet the needs of dance learners. The learner also applies assessment methods to the teaching/learning process.

The importance of feedback in improving the learner’s own teaching practice and accountability to students and, where appropriate, employers is also explored in this Unit. 


Unit 3: Vocational Graded Examination in Dance: Advanced 1 – 33 credits at Level 4

 This Unit aims to build on the skills, knowledge and understanding gained at Intermediate level as part of the progressive mastery of a particular dance genre.  Learners will demonstrate an extensive and increasingly sophisticated vocabulary of movement as well as assured musicality and artistry through which they will show the discipline necessary for a dance professional. 


Unit 4: Principles and Practice of Dance and Choreography in a Chosen Genre –  30 credits at Level 6

This Unit is concerned with the study of the teaching of a specific dance genre chosen by the learner.  An in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of the principles and approaches to the teaching of the chosen genre as well as the inherent artistic and stylistic implications are assessed.  The learner’s understanding of the role of music as it relates to the practice and artistic expression of the genre is refined and developed as is the crafting of choreographic devices appropriate to the particular genre.  Through this study the learner gains a full understanding of an advanced level of teaching in a specific genre as well as the contextualisation of the genre in performance and through choreography.   


Unit 5: Health and Safety in Dance – 30 credits at Level 5

This Unit is an essential element in the successful delivery of programmes of dance teaching and learning.  It covers general health and safety requirements and additionally, the specific knowledge and skills required for safe dance practice.  The study includes understanding of health issues and their impact on dance teaching and learning. 


Unit 6: Lifespan Development and Learning in Dance – 30 credits at Level 5

This Unit requires the learner to undertake an in-depth study of the science of Lifespan Development. It covers a wide range of topics which inform the practice of dance teaching in the context of human development from infancy to late adulthood.

The knowledge gained through this Unit gives the learner a powerful tool in understanding how to organise dance learning activities which are within the capacity of a particular age group. Not only this, by studying the recognised norms in human developmental theory and exploring the variations which are so often evident, the learner can use dance activities to meet individual developmental learning needs. The role of dance learning in the promotion of transferable skills is explored in the context of the broader educational practice. 

Unit 7: Reflective Practice and Continuing Personal and Professional Development –  30 credits at Level 6

This Unit is designed to give dance teachers increasing autonomy in the process of improving and developing their professional practice.  It concerns reflective practice which is based not only on reviewing the impact of practical learning experiences, but also evaluating them in the wider context of learning theory and models of ‘best practice’ through the creation of a reflective journal.  As well as being concerned with the generic aspects of teaching and learning, it is directed at achieving excellence in dance teaching.

Reflective practice also informs the planning and implementation of appropriate Continuing Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) activities.  This ensures that teachers remain current with trends in education and in their own specialism and are able to critically appraise new thinking and new perspectives.

The role of teacher as researcher is also studied in this Unit and learners are encouraged to explore issues relating to their own pedagogy with a view to undertaking a programme of Action Research to promote quality improvement and innovation. 


 Entry conditions

There are two main routes to gain entry to the programme.  

It should be noted that as this is a teaching qualification for experienced dance teachers or professional dancers, the minimum age for entry to the programme of study is 18. 

If you don’t meet the requirements of either route listed below, you will have your application assessed on an individual basis to ascertain your suitability for the programme.

1. Experienced teacher route

You should have the following:

 * experience of regular dance teaching over three years (this is approximately 1,800 hours in total based on an average of 20 hours per week over 30 weeks per year);

 * the Intermediate examination in the relevant genre (only Intermediate examinations from the ISTD, or other recognised dance awarding bodies (BBO – British Ballet Organization, BTDA – British Theatre Dance Association, RAD – Royal Academy of Dance) will be accepted).

* and hold one of the following qualifications:

  • Level 4 Diploma in Dance Education in the relevant genre, or
  • Certificate in Dance Education in the relevant genre, or
  • Associate Diploma in the relevant genre, or
  • A recognised dance teaching qualification of the same level or higher with another awarding body in the relevant genre 

2. Professional Dancer route

You should have a highly developed level of technique in the relevant genre and have at least five years regular employment as a professional dancer.  Experience in coaching or teaching classes is also beneficial.

 You should also hold the Intermediate examination in the relevant genre. If you don’t meet this requirement, your knowledge will be assessed by the selection panel and the relevant Faculty.

Application process

Applications for this programme will be open from Monday 1st July to Friday 13th September. The programme itself will start in January 2014 (the delivery timetable will be provided to successful applicants in due course).

The application form can be downloaded from the Breaking News box at the top of this page. The syllabus and the programme fees are available from the Education & Training Department

Once completed, your application form should be sent to the following address:

Advanced Dance Teacher Training
Education & Training Department
ISTD Dance Examinations Board
Imperial House
22/26 Paul Street
London EC2A 4QE
United Kingdom

In the instance where you do not already currently hold your Advanced 1 examination in your chosen genre from the ISTD, or other accredited dance awarding bodies (British Ballet Organization, British Theatre Dance Association, Royal Academy of Dance), you are required to provide evidence of your current level of dance skill in your chosen genre. The short DVD demonstration will allow the selection panel to ascertain through your personal performance that your knowledge and understanding of the relevant dance technique and vocabulary is sufficient to enable you to reach Advanced 1 level.

Click here to download the details relating to the DVD submission, including the details relating to each genre (Cecchetti Classical Ballet, Imperial Classical Ballet, Modern Theatre Dance, South Asian Dance and Tap Dance). This is not applicable to those applying for the programme in Classical Greek Dance and National Dance.

All applications will be assessed by a genre-specific selection panel and the Education & Training Department. If your application is successful, you will be advised by Friday 20th September at the very latest of the date and time of your interview. Should you be invited to an interview, you will be asked to bring with you a DVD of you teaching (further details will be provided closer to the time).

Interviews will be held at ISTD 2 Dance Studios (London) on week commencing 7th October. All interviews will take place between Monday 7th October and Friday 11th October between 09.00 and 17.00. You must ensure you are available during that period.

Recognition of prior accreditation and achievement

Each successful applicant will also go through a process of recognition of prior accreditation and achievement.  This is to ensure that, where possible, you will not duplicate relevant learning and assessment that you have already attained.  This process takes account of certificated achievements; as long as they are of the relevant level for the unit, or above, and map to the learning outcomes and assessment criteria for that unit, they will be taken into account  through exemption of the relevant unit(s).

If you have already achieved your Advanced 1 in the genre you are applying for, or if you have achieved CDE Unit 4 Promotion of Health and Safety in Dance and/or CDE Unit 5 Lifespan Development and Learning in Dance, exemptions from the relevant units of the programme will apply.

Studying for the qualification

The programme is delivered part-time over a two year period starting in January 2013 from the ISTD2 Dance Studios in East London. Ensuring your background is taken into account as much as possible, the programme provides varied methods of delivery, including practical workshops, taught sessions, group tutorials, work based personal mentoring. In addition, you are expected to complete a significant amount of private study and research.

All training is carried out by lecturers who are chosen for their expertise in their specific areas of study. In addition, you are assigned a genre specific personal mentor, whose role is to provide information, encouragement, support, assistant and guidance throughout the entire programme. Your mentor will guide you in your critical thinking, your reflective practice, and your professional development in practical teaching and learning. Your mentor also acts as the link between the taught elements of the programme, your private study and research and the work based learning. Through a specified number of mentoring hours, the dialogue between your mentor and yourself will happen through telephone tutorials, face-to-face tutorials in your workplace and feedback on your monthly reflective journal submissions. If necessary, further mentoring can be arranged at a set fee.

Additional support and guidance can be found in the Programme Handbook, the Unit Handbooks and from the Education & Training Department. Where relevant, you are given essential or recommend reading (e.g. books, journals and website articles). Where possible, we have tried to include as many of these references in the ISTD Reference Library.

Throughout the programme, we expect you to attend all practical workshops, taught sessions and group tutorials for the units you are required to complete. As a rough approximation, there would be about 14 weekends over the entire two years and one entire week of training (during either a half term or the summer holidays) we would expect those following the professional dancer route to attend. This number would drop to about 12 weekends and one entire week of training for those following the experienced teacher route. Where possible, a draft timetable will be provided to all applicants.

Cost of the programme

The maximum fee for all units for experienced teachers is £6,060 (and for the ex-professional dancers route is £6,500), but may be significantly less if some of the units are exempted by having already been achieved in other qualifications.

In terms of financial assistance, the ISTD is currently investigating what options are available to applicants on the programme in terms of funding, scholarships and loans. In the mean time, please visit the Direct Gov website for more information about financial help for adult learning. If you are from a professional dance background, it might be worth contacting the Dancers’ Career Development organisation who provide re-training and business start-up grants for professional dancers in the UK. To see if you are eligible, please visit the DCD website

Where can I go afterwards?

On completion of the qualification, what happens next really depends on you.

-If you are not a member already, we would recommend joining as a Full Teaching Member of the ISTD. This allows you to benefit from the support and resources available to ISTD members. This also gives you the opportunity to enter candidates for ISTD examinations. For information about membership, please click here

-You can apply for Licentiate status of the ISTD in the genre you have qualified in. If you want to gain Licentiate status in other genres, you will not need to complete the qualifications in its entirety. You will need to achieve Units 2, 3 and 4 in that genre and on completion of those units, you can apply for Licentiate status of that genre. (Please note that you would not be certificated for the qualification a second time – it is not possible to achieve the qualification more than once. However, you would receive the relevant credits on the QCF for the units completed.)

-You can apply for Professional Formation through the Institute for Learning (IfL) to gain Qualified Teaching Learning and Skills (QTLS) status. The IfL considers that the qualification covers the Level 5 Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (DTLLS) requirements and is placed on their New Tariff of Initial Teacher Training Qualifications. This means you will not need to take the DTLLS as an additional qualification. For more information about QTLS, please go to the FAQ section below.

-On achievement your QTLS status and if you are a member of the IfL, you will be recognised as qualified teacher in state maintained schools without any further induction requirements and without the need to apply to the Teaching Agency for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

-You can progress onto the Fellowship qualification in the genre you have qualified in. For information about the Fellowship, please click here.

-You can apply for the MA in Professional Practice: Dance Technique Pedagogy validated by Middlesex University. Please click here for more information.

-You can consider becoming an Approved Tutor and teach trainee teachers on the ISTD’s initial teacher training qualifications (the Level 3 Diploma in Dance Instruction and the Level 4 Diploma in Dance Education). (Please note that it is a requirement that all Approved Tutors are appointed by, and must work at, an Approved Dance Centre. Please click here for more information.)

Languages available

At this time the qualification and programme of study is available in English only but it is anticipated that it will become available in other languages as demand dictates.

 Frequently asked questions

  • Is there an upper age limit for the qualification?

No - the ISTD welcomes learners of all ages.

  • I don't hold the Advanced 1 but I’m a mature student and don’t feel it’s possible to achieve it now.  Can I be exempted?

Everyone undertaking the qualification must meet the stipulated standard in their dance practice in order to pass the qualification.  However, learners who have physical limitations may use the reasonable adjustments process by completing an ‘Application for Reasonable Adjustments’ form detailing their difficulty and asking for appropriate adjustments to be made to the assessment to enable you to demonstrate the knowledge to the required standard.

This should be discussed in detail with your personal mentor who, if necessary, will contact the Customer Services and Quality Assurance Department who handle the whole process and can give guidance.

  • How long do I have to complete my qualification?

The programme of study is delivered over two years. If at any point during your agreed programme you believe you will not be able to complete the qualification in the agreed timeframe, you should discuss the options with the Education & Training Department. 

  • What is the IfL and what is QTLS?

The Institute for Learning (IfL) is the independent professional body for teachers, tutors, trainers and student teachers in the further education and skills sector. The role of IfL is to support professional development and excellence. All teachers and trainers working in publicly funded further education and skills provision are required to register as members of IfL, undertake CPD each year and abide by the IfL Code of Professional Practice.

Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status is the legislative requirement for teachers wishing to practice in the further education and skills sector. QTLS is conferred by the IfL through professional formation. Professional formation is the post-qualification process by which a teacher demonstrates, through the evidence of professional practice, the ability to effectively use the skills and knowledge acquired whilst training to be a teacher and the capacity to meet the occupational standards required of a teacher. The time taken to complete professional formation and achieve QTLS status will be determined by the individual circumstances of the teacher, for example, length of experience, full-time, part-time, fractional or sessional role and in-service training.

It has also been confirmed by the UK Department for Education that, from 1st April 2012, further education teachers who have been awarded QTLS status by the IfL and are members of the IfL will be recognised as qualified teachers in schools, without any further induction requirements and without the need to apply to the Teaching Agency for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This will allow them to be appointed to permanent posts in state maintained schools in England and they will be paid on the qualified teachers’ pay scale. They will continue to be recognised as qualified school teachers providing they remain a member of the IfL. Please note that schools and local authorities will remain responsible for decisions on employing QTLS holders, and IfL will maintain the national register of QTLS holders, including those teaching in schools.

  • Can I study for the qualification in any genre?

The programme is available in the following ISTD genres: Cecchetti Classical Ballet, Classical Greek Dance, Imperial Classical Ballet, Modern Theatre Dance, National Dance, South Asian Dance (Bharatantyam and Kathak) and Tap Dance. It is not currently available in any ISTD Dancesport genre or in non ISTD genres.

Glossary of terms

Are you baffled by all the acronyms used?  Please click here for more information.


Related Documents

  1. ISTD Advanced 1 DVD Submission details

    PDF 372kb Published on: 26 June 2012