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Contemporary Dance

The ISTD is proud to have launched its first Contemporary syllabus

We have spent the past two years working with a team of dance experts and led by Dr Ross McKim, the well-known dancer, choreographer, philosopher and Artistic Director of the Rambert School (from 1985–2015). Find out more about Dr Ross McKim and the project here

For students and teachers
The syllabus aims to introduce students to the fundamentals and vocabulary of Contemporary technique, performance through specially created solos by professional choreographers and approaches to creating movement vocabulary. For teachers, it offers the necessary tools to deliver an informed and complete approach to teaching Contemporary Dance, where students will feel inspired, challenged and empowered.

Intermediate Foundation level available NOW, Intermediate level available in 2020
We focused on producing the syllabus at three levels - Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced 1 - and courses for the Intermediate Foundation syllabus are now running across the UK with Intermediate courses available from February 2020. There are also plans in place to create more levels in the future.

We cannot thank the team enough for their commitment to the project and the knowledge and time that they have shared so generously.


Book your Contemporary course now

Want to learn the ISTD's new Contemporary syllabus?

The Intermediate Foundation syllabus is now available and teachers' courses are running across the country.

Download Contemporary Dance Syllabus Outline

Find a Contemporary course near you

Join the ISTD

Want to teach the ISTD's new Contemporary syllabus and enter students for exams?

NEW Contemporary Affiliated membership is available for teachers and professional dancers, who are not already ISTD members, enabling them to submit students for exams.

Find the right membership for you here


What contributing teachers and choreographers have to say

Antonio Borriello


Antonio Borriello

Phoenix Youth Academy, Youth Academy Coordinator

"The syllabus is well rounded – exploring technical, performance and improvisation elements. I feel more aware of the way my body can move and that can be applied to other dance forms. It works hand in hand with ballet – it involves different alignments, placement of pelvis – but allows you to explore the range of movement in the body and the music fits perfectly with what you are doing".

Sharon Watson

Artistic Director and Choreographer, Phoenix Dance Theatre and choreographer of solo (Advanced 1)

"I’m delighted I have been tasked with a small contribution, of creating a solo, for this new contemporary dance syllabus. Having insight and input leaves me optimistic and believing these changes will impact positively on the dancers engaged in the programme. The dance sector has much to gain from this training syllabus which can only add value to, not only, what we do but how we do it!".


Sharon Watson


examinations. See here LINK for more information.  We cannot thank the team enough for their commitment to the project and the knowledge and time that they have shared so generously.  These are some of the thoughts of the teachers, choreographers and stud


Neville Campbell

Head of Centre for Advanced Training, Dance City and choreographer of solo (Intermediate) 

"I am delighted to have played a part in the creation of this new syllabus as I believe that it recognises the significant development of contemporary dance that has taken place over the years in the UK and that this syllabus represents an important milestone in its future development".


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Contemporary Syllabus teaching pathways
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