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17 February 2024

You may have recently seen some information about the creation of the ISTD Academy. The Academy is an Approved Dance Centre (ADC) and meets our legal and regulatory obligations by ensuring that there is a separation between the entities that deliver our teacher training and our examinations. Natalie Dickmann was appointed to the new role of Academy Programme Manager in July and talks to us in this article about what the Academy hopes to achieve and how it can support the members’ journey.



I was thrilled to take on the role of ISTD Academy Programme Manager this summer and it has been a nonstop whirlwind ever since!

We hit the ground running with the launch of our first ISTD Academy teacher training course in October, welcoming students from across the globe onto the Diploma in Dance Pedagogy (DDP) programme. We are delighted to have such a committed cohort with a wealth of teaching experience, all offering different perspectives and motivations for wanting to pursue a higher teaching qualification.

Most great learning happens in groups. Collaboration is the stuff of growth.
-The late Sir Ken Robinson, educationalist

The Academy is now focused on developing its delivery of other teaching qualifications. Our aim is to offer a clear and accessible pathway through the ISTD qualifications, working with specialist coaches and lecturers to support teachers in their own personal development. Some teachers may wish to focus on syllabus delivery and entering students for exams, whereas others may choose to work within schools and community settings. Given the diverse options offered by the ISTD teaching examinations, we want to work together with our teachers to understand their individual goals to help guide them toward the appropriate pathway.

As we build the portfolio of teaching qualifications on offer at the Academy, we hope that progression routes will become clearer, enabling individuals to advance through levels more easily taking the pathway that best suits their needs and aspirations.

I aim to continue my learning with the ISTD and hope to obtain my Licentiate and Fellowship in ballet.
Charlotte Rintoul-Margate, DDP graduate

We are currently developing units of study for Level 4 Diploma in Dance Education (DDE) from June 2024. We are looking to offer a blended online learning experience with both recorded and live modules. By delivering these more specialised units we hope to support international dance centres to begin delivery of DDE – in country. We also want to work with international schools to enable access to this regulated teaching qualification.

By Easter of 2024, our ambition is to offer the Licentiate teaching qualification for individual genres. These will be delivered as intensive courses for those teachers who have experience and may have been developing their training but need a final push to complete the examination. Through online workshops and mentoring we will prepare you towards the examination by working with genre specialists and lecturers to support you on the way. If you would like to express an interest in this course and please let us know by emailing: We will be commencing the application
process from January 2024.

Inspired by the heritage of London College, the Academy is committed to nurturing the next generation of dance teachers and ensuring pathways are transparent and progressive. However, it is more than just teaching for me; it is about building a dance community, sharing practice and breaking down the barriers to learning.


Our vision

The Academy aspires to be a leading example of good practice, showcasing our capacity to innovate and explore new methodologies and courses. We are committed to delivering an exceptional education that empowers a diverse range of teachers to thrive and progress within a creative and forward-thinking environment. Our goal is to support and mentor teachers on their educational journey, offering accessible and affordable online options.

Through the Academy our ambitions are to:

  • Open access to teaching qualifications both in the UK and internationally.
  • Offer individual and intensive remote online modules that are easily accessible and affordable.
  • Develop into a centre of excellence promoting ISTD teaching qualifications with a focus on current methods and pedagogy.
  • Create pathways that facilitate progression to employment and training opportunities, creating a future workforce for the ISTD.
  • Collaborate with partners, including other ADCs, international centres or vocational colleges to enhance employment prospects for their students.


What is our unique selling point?

Short, intensive online courses with group interaction and tailored mentoring support.

The opportunities and challenges of online learning

With the ISTD’s ongoing development of the DDP qualification, we have been able to draw valuable insights from past experiences.

Online learning offers diverse opportunities, notably enhanced accessibility and flexibility. It erases geographical barriers, fostering global inclusivity, and allowing students to personalise their schedules. This approach empowers individuals to balance work, life, and study effectively.

Online platforms also provide resources that can cater to various learning styles, deepening students’ practical subject understanding. They also promote collaboration, connecting students and experts worldwide, enriching problem-solving skills and global awareness.

The cohort is such an important part of the support structure during the course.
-Anonymous DDP graduate

Nevertheless, challenges like limited interaction, assessment, and isolation exist. To address these, we are offering one-to-one and group tutorials, live lectures, and mentorship with live feedback on video submissions. Online communities with regular interaction provide support, ensuring a balance between online learning’s benefits and meaningful engagement in practical subjects.

Not everyone enjoys learning online and it may be that you want to combine some online practice with some studio face to face. The important thing is that you have choices and therefore do not let a course be a barrier to your progression – seek out the course that works for you.


Join us on our journey

If you share my passion for dance and education, I invite you to join me on this journey. Together, we will create a community where everyone can learn and thrive. The future of dance education is evolving, and we want you to be a part of it.

You can contact the Academy by sending an email to:

For upcoming courses visit the ISTD Academy page

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