ISTD Level 4 Diploma in Dance Instruction (DDE)

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? 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.




  • Course code: 

  • PFA174

  • Subject area:

    Dance, Performing Arts

  • Attendance:

    Full Time or Part Time

  • Qualification:

    ISTD Diploma in Dance Education (QCF) Level 4

  • Duration:

    2 Years

  • Venue:


  • Course code:


  • Subject area:

    Dance, Performing Arts

  • Attendance:

    Full Time

  • Qualification:

    BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma in Performing Arts (Dance) Level 3

  • Duration:

    2 Years

  • Venue:


  • Course code:

  • PFA234

  • Subject area:

  • Dance, Performing Arts

  • Attendance:

  • Full Time

  • Qualification:

  • UAL Diploma in Performing Arts and Production Arts (Dance) Level 2

  • Duration:

  • 1 Year

  • Venue:

  • Chichester


ISTD Licentiate.

This qualification further builds on the skills learnt in the DDE training and tests the dance teacher further in the syllabus and teaching skill. 


Entry requirements 

The candidate must be 23 or above and hold the DDE, CDE or Associate Diploma in the relevant genre. They must also have passed their Advanced 1 exam and is recommended to have at least five years of teaching experience. 


What can happen next? 

Once you have this qualification you can apply for a full ISTD membership which would allow you to to enter candidates for any ISTD examinations. You can also apply to be an approved tutor for the DDI/DDE and apply for further qualifications such as the Fellowship, Pedagogy, BA and MA. 

ISTD Fellowship. 

This is the highest teaching qualification offered by the ISTD, which further builds on the skills and experience learnt from the Licentiate. 


Entry requirements 

You must be 28 or above, hold the Licentiate qualification and Advanced 2 in the relevant genre. The candidate must also have completed eight years teaching 


What can happen next? 

This qualification allows you to train as an examiner for the relevant genre and go onto studying the advanced qualifications listed above. 


The Level 6 Diploma in Dance Pedagogy (DDP) is a dance teaching qualification regulated by Ofqual at Level 6 of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).


Entry requirements

There are two main routes to gain entry to the programme. Please see below. 


What does the qualification contain?

Unit 1: Planning and Evaluating Programmes of Learning

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

Unit 3: Vocational Graded Examination in Dance: Advanced 1 (Genre specific)

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

Unit 5: Health and Safety in Dance

Unit 6: Lifespan Development and Learning in Dance

Unit 7: Reflective Practice and Continuing Personal and Professional Development



1. Experienced teacher route


The following is required:

* 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


The following is required:

the minimum age for entry to the programme of study is 18. 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 prior to entry onto the programme, 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.


• If you don't meet the requirements of either route listed above, you will have your application assessed on an individual basis to ascertain your suitability for the programme.



What can happen next?

  • Access to teaching positions in the Further Education and state-maintained sector - Provided you meet the Level 2 Numeracy and Literacy skill requirements, you can apply for Professional Formation with the IfL leading to the award of Qualified Teacher in Learning and Skills (QTLS). QTLS will enable you to access teaching positions in the Further Education and state-maintained sector.

  • You can apply for Licentiate membership of the ISTD in your chosen genre. After becoming a member, you will be eligible to enter candidates for any ISTD examinations. This will enable you to use the abbreviation 'LISTD' after your name.

  • As this qualification is equivalent to a Licentiate, you can progress onto the Fellowship qualification in your chosen genre, which is the highest teaching qualification offered by the ISTD.

  • You can apply for the BA in Professional Practice programme offered in conjunction with Middlesex University.

  • You can apply for the MA in Professional Practice: Dance Technique Pedagogy programme offered in conjunction with Middlesex University.

  • You can consider becoming an Approved Tutor and teach learners on the ISTD's initial teacher training qualifications (DDI and DDE).



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Warblington School 

Southleigh Rd,

Havant, PO9 2RR


Portchester Methodist Church,

Castle Street,

Portchester, PO16 9PS



Tel: 07754001970

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