Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy

Download the Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy Syllabus here.

The Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy is a vocational dance teaching qualification regulated at Level 6 of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) 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 Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy has challenged me to broaden my views on the teaching of dance. The extensive course focuses heavily on the wider knowledge of teaching beyond the ISTD syllabus and helps to develop the key skills needed for anyone within the teaching profession. The expert knowledge of the lecturers has been inspiring and has led me to become a more informed teacher within the dance studio.”

Aaron Lissimore

The programme is delivered part-time over a two year period starting in January 2016 from the ISTD2 Dance Studios in East London. Ensuring your background is taken into account as far 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 supported by your personal mentor. As a rough approximation, there would be about 14 weekend sessions over the entire two years and one entire week of genre specific training during the summer holidays.

The Level 6 DDP 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. 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

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 to teach in three different sectors: the private dance teaching sector; the further education sector and the maintained sector.


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 membership of the ISTD in the relevant genre.  That means you will be able to enter candidates for any ISTD examinations in both Theatre Dance and Dancesport genres.

You can consider applying to become an Approved Tutor and work with our Approved Dance Centres in delivering the ISTD initial dance teaching qualifications; DDI and DDE.

The qualification is considered by the Institute for Learning (IfL) to cover the requirements of the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training. This provides you with the opportunity to teach in the Further Education sector in England and Wales.

Following the recent decision by the UK Department for Education, Further Education teachers who have the Diploma in Education and Training or the equivalent and have undertaken Professional Formation with the IfL leading to the award of Qualified Teacher in Learning and Skills (QTLS), 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.

“Embarking on the Level 6 DDP course, was indeed a daunting thought, but was also a very rewarding journey. I feel enthused and regenerated to continuing teaching my genre. My confidence level has dually increased along with my knowledge and reinforced technical ability.”

Beverley Warman-Johnston

Qualification overview 

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, Classical Indian Dance (Bharatnatyam and Kathak) and Tap Dance. 

An overview of the units - What will you learn?

Unit 1: Planning and Evaluating Programmes of Learning

  • How to structure and plan dance learning within a curriculum.
  • The concept of inclusion by planning effectively.
  • Skills to improve and advance your teaching and learning strategies.

Unit 2: The Practice of Dance Teaching and Learning in a Chosen Genre

  • The generic and genre-specific knowledge and skills required for excellence in teaching.
  • How to implement teaching and learning strategies.
  • An understanding of and how to apply a broad range of teaching methods.

Unit 3: Vocational Graded Examination in Dance: Advanced 1

  • The ability to demonstrate an extensive vocabulary of movement, musicality and artistry as part of the progressive mastery of a particular dance genre.

Unit 4: Principles and Practice of Dance and Choreography in a Chosen Genre

  • An in depth knowledge and critical understanding of the principles and approaches to the teaching of the chosen dance genre.
  • The contextualization of the genre in performance and through choreography.
  • The understanding of choreographic processes appropriate to the particular genre.

Unit 5: Health and Safety in Dance

  • Ways to manage Health & Safety issues within your classroom and lesson planning.
  • Teaching strategies for promoting psychological health of your students during training.
  • A greater awareness of clinical conditions encountered in your dance studio.

Unit 6: Lifespan Development and Learning in Dance

  • The importance of understanding social and emotional features in development and how this affects your pupils.
  • The skills to motivate pupils and understanding difference within learning.
  • How physical and cognitive development relates to growth of the brain.

Unit 7: Reflective Practice and Continuing Personal and Professional Development

  • To improve and develop your professional practice through reflection.
  • An increased awareness of current trends in education and in your own specialism.
  • The role of teacher as researcher, exploring issues relating to your own teaching through Action Research.

 For further information on the unit credits and content, please see syllabus available to download at the top of this page.     

 “All the different units have taught me something new and developed my training.  They have also given me the confidence to progress with my career.”  

Georgina Wootten


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 ex-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 or the IDTA – International Dance Teachers Association since January 2013) 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 and a teaching placement would be required for the course.

You should also hold the Intermediate examination in the relevant genre (from the ISTD, BBO, BTDA, IDTA (since January 2013) or RAD). If you don’t meet this requirement, your knowledge will be assessed by the selection panel and the relevant Faculty by means of a DVD. A broad understanding of the ISTD syllabi in the relevant genre is also desirable.

To fulfil the work-based nature of this Course, where much of the learning and assessment depends on evidence drawn from practical teaching, you will be required to undertake 100 hours of teaching practice. You will need to have, therefore, a suitable work placement before the start of your programme of study.

Application process

The Application Period for the programme starting in January 2015 has ended now.

Applications for the next intake of learners on the Level 6 DDP programme to start in January 2016 will open in the summer of 2015. If you are interested in applying for the programme starting in 2016, please email the Education & Training Department at HigherQualifications@istd.org with your details. We will keep your details on file and contact you closer to the time with an application form.

Alternatively, once the applications open in the summer of 2015, you can download the application form and syllabus that will be available at that time on this page. The programme fees will be 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
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. For more information on this please contact the Education & Training Department.

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 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).

“In the last year my students have become more responsible for their own learning, resulting in some excellent results in class. Level 6 has given me more confidence in my ability to teach and taught me how to recognise my own strengths & weaknesses and address them resulting in continual self monitored CPD.”

Wendy Walters

Glossary of terms

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