The examination structure of the ISTD is designed to cater equally for those who wish to progress to making dance their profession, either as a performer or dance teacher, and for those pursuing dance purely as a leisure activity.
The teaching qualifications are structured to give the new teacher the best possible foundation from which to work, with a particular emphasis on safe dance practice and the needs of the growing child.
Grade Examinations may be taken in Classical Ballet (Cecchetti and Imperial methods), Modern Theatre, Tap, National Dance, Classical Greek, Classical Indian Dance, Modern Ballroom, Latin American, Disco Freestyle and Classical Sequence. Grades 1-6 are accredited by Ofqual, but some Faculties have additional Grades prior to Grade 1, that is, Pre-Primary and Primary.
Class Examinations may be taken in Classical Ballet (Cecchetti and Imperial methods), Classical Greek and Modern Theatre.
These tests may be taken in Modern Ballroom, Latin American, Sequence, Disco Freestyle, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Country & Western, Classical Greek and National. The levels progress from Under 6, Under 8, Social Dance Test, Pre-Bronze Dance Test, to Bronze, Silver, Gold, Gold Star and higher awards for Dancesport medals. Not all levels are applicable to all genres, please contact dance faculty for further details.
Other types of examinations
Some Faculties offer other types of qualifications other than those mentioned above so please refer to individual syllabi for full details.
The Vocational Grades are accredited by Ofqual and include Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced 1 and Advanced 2. These examinations form a cohesive bridge between the work covered in the Grades and the work of the professional examinations.
Teaching Qualifications and Professional Qualifications
For more information about the ISTD's teaching qualifications and professional qualifications, please see our Courses and Training section.
Syllabus Outlines for all the examinations mentioned above are available free of charge from the Examinations Departments and most can be downloaded here.
Further technical detail in the form of Examination Specifications can be purchased from the ISTD Shop.
“I will always believe in the quality that comes from the ISTD...I say to my students that their lessons and qualifications are an investment.” - Karen Hardy, Strictly Come Dancing and ISTD member
“The ISTD examination system is great because it provides reachable goals as opposed to dreams.” - Warren and Kristi Boyce, British National Ballroom Champions and ISTD members
“I enjoyed doing my ISTD Associate Ballroom enormously. I find the whole thing fascinating... I enjoy the mechanics and the technique of dance and the Associate was a great help." - Anton Du Beke, Strictly Come Dancing and ISTD Associate holder
“My relationship with my dance teachers was very special and I felt very close to them. To this day I have amazing relationships with them as I have grown up.” - Charlie Bruce, former ISTD student and 2009 winner of the BBC’s So You Think You Can Dance
"I think the ISTD is a structure that definitely needs to be in place for the growth of a dancer. I trained in ISTD Tap and Modern at Laine’s and I think syllabus work is a necessity." - Matt Flint, former ISTD student and 2011 winner of the BBC's So You Think You Can Dance
“The grounding and technique that you get from ISTD training is really important for anyone that wants to have a career in dance. I’ve seen the syllabus grow and change over the years to accommodate current styles.” - Gary Lloyd, Artistic Director and Choreographer of Thriller Live