1. You are here:
  2. Home
  3. Courses & Training
  4. Teaching Qualifications
  5. Initial Dance Teacher Training Qualifications
  6. DDE Level 4 - Regulated Qualification in the EU

DDE Level 4 - Regulated Qualification in the EU

The ISTD’s new Level 4 Diploma in Dance Education (DDE) has been approved by the Council in March 2018 and will replace the current DDI and DDE route from 1st September 2018.

The new DDE forms part of the ISTD’s regulated teaching qualifications portfolio and is initially available to study inside the EU for the ISTD’s Theatre Dance genres (Cecchetti, Classical Greek, Classical Indian, Imperial Classical Ballet, Modern Theatre, National Dance, Tap). Once delivered worldwide, the new DDE will also replace the Theatre Associate and Associate Diplomas.

What does this mean for current DDI/DDE Student Teachers, Approved Dance Centres and Approved Tutors? Find out in our FAQs

Overview and Objectives

The ISTD’s Level 4 DDE is an achievable and streamlined teaching qualification, which provides student teachers with a clear progression pathway to becoming an ISTD qualified teacher (either Licentiate or Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy), and an overall excellent introduction to a career in teaching dance. The contextual nature of the assessment will ensure that student teachers develop the practical skills and knowledge required to enter the teaching profession and to develop a sustainable career. In studying the DDE, candidates cover a breadth of material, leaving them fully qualified within their chosen dance genre.

Read the full Purpose Statement here

Duration and Units

Depending on individual experience and the chosen format of studying, the Level 4 DDE can be achieved over within a 2-3 year programme, either part time or as part of full time vocational training.

It consists of 5 units (120 credits in total), which can be taken individually, although they all link to one another ensuring a depth of knowledge which prepares the student teachers thoroughly for the studio and the start of their teaching journey.

Unit 1: Preparing for Safe Teaching (15 credits at Level 3)

Unit 2: Observing, Assisting and Teaching Practice (30 credits at Level 4)

Unit 3: Vocational Graded Examination in Dance: Intermediate (28 credits at Level 3)

Unit 4: Dance Practice (30 credits at Level 4)

Unit 5: Social, Emotional and Cognitive Development (17 credits at Level 4)

Delivery and Support

The new DDE follows a blended learning approach, which combines classroom and studio delivery with online activities and assessment.

Student Teachers can study the new DDE through ISTD Approved Dance Centres (ADCs) who have been assessed and approved by the ISTD to ensure they meet our high standards. A list of current ADCs is available here (weblink/download), arranged by region and listing the genres offered. Some centres will offer the DDE at weekends, evenings or through intensive blocks. Please contact the ADCs directly for further information about enrolment, study times, tuition fees, etc.

Much of the DDE can be studied and completed online via a Learner Management System (LMS). Totara is the name of this system, which gives students, Approved Dance Centres and Approved Tutors 24/7 access and lots of functionalities to manage their respective learner journeys and tasks.

For more information about Totara, please contact the E&T team.

Also see the Downloadable Documents for DDE section


Download the New DDE fee sheet here

Please note that Approved Dance Centres set their own tuition fees.

For those struggling to cover the costs, there is a range of financial support opportunities available, such as:


Student teachers need to be 17 years of age in the academic year of enrolment and 18 years of age to undertake the DDE teaching practice.  Student teachers must also have completed the Intermediate examination in the relevant dance style to take DDE Unit 4: Dance Practice Exam

Student teachers with significant prior teaching experience may be able to apply for an exemption for some areas of the qualification or perhaps a unit itself.

The ISTD offers set unit exemptions to candidates who have gained some of the more recognised dance and education related qualifications. To view a list of these qualifications and the corresponding unit exemptions, download the New DDE Planned Exemptions Table

Candidates who think they have qualifications, (not shown on the Planned Exemptions Table), equivalent in level and content to the DDE can still apply for unit exemptions through the Individually Requested Exemptions process.  For further information about this, please contact our Initial Qualifications Co-ordinator Gemma Bridge at gbridge@istd.org

Progression Routes

Successful completion of your Diploma in Dance Education will also enable you to access higher level qualifications should you so wish, depending on your career aims.

To apply to be an ISTD examiner at the highest level you would take the Licentiate, followed by the Fellowship qualification. You also have an option to apply for the level 6 higher Teaching Qualification (Diploma in Dance Pedagogy) which would enable you to apply for Qualified Teaching and Learning Status (QTLS) to teach within the state education sector or Further Education.

Following Level 6 you could apply to Middlesex University to complete their MA. There are several routes that enable you to continue to develop the level of your qualification should you so wish.

For further information about the ISTD’s portfolio of higher level qualifications, please email hqualifications@istd.org

ISTD Membership

Successful completion of the DDE allows graduates to apply for Full Membership of the ISTD, which amongst other benefits includes entering students for exams, receiving the ISTD’s DANCE magazine, getting listed on DANCE-TEACHERS.org, the ISTD’s global directory of dance teachers, and many more. For a full overview of all of the ISTD’s membership categories and benefits, please visit the Membership section.

Registration and Contacts

If you would like further information about the new DDE, please contact our Initial Qualifications Co-ordinator Gemma Bridge at gbridge@istd.org. If you would like to enrol, please contact your chosen Approved Dance Centre directly, or, if you are interested in becoming an Approved Dance Centre or Tutor, please contact Cynthia Pease at customerservices@istd.org.