MODERN (istd syllabus)

What is Modern Theatre dance?

Modern dance is closely linked with contemporary dance, has roots in the USA and Germany and was originally created as a rebellion against the strict rules that classical Ballet imposed upon the body, breaking away from codified movement and instead focusing on fluidity of movement, rhythm, relaxation and connection with the floor.

These days most Modern Theatre dancers also study Ballet and the techniques actually complement each other. We work with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Modern Theatre dance syllabus which is energetic, and theatrical with lots of travelling steps, high kicks, leaps and turns preparing students for the styles of dance often seen in West End and Broadway shows.


These classes encourage creativity and allow some freedom for experimentation with movement while teaching safe and correct dance technique preparing them for further training. The aims throughout the grades are:

  • to learn and improve modern dance technique based around natural movement
  • to improve co–ordination, balance, flexibility and strength
  • to promote awareness of breath and of the body in space including a sense of line and style
  • to develop musicality and rhythm
  • to develop creativity, interpretive movement, improvisational and performance skills
  • to gain confidence through performance and have fun

Classes start from around the age of five working through the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing syllabus from Primary to Grade 6. Students who show good progression and dedication are offered the chance to take exams in these grades.

As students grow older the training and standard progresses with them. Exams are not compulsory but many students gain a sense of achievement and confidence from taking exams, as well as improving their dancing by the hard work required to attain the high ISTD standards.


Vocational training can be done alongside or after graded training and are meant to push talented students to advance their technical proficiency to prepare them for a career in dance. Vocational exams from Intermediate Foundation to Advanced 2 are offered to students who show outstanding technical ability, performance skills and dedication to dance training. The aims for vocational training are:

  • to achieve excellence in modern theatre dance technique
  • to achieve self-awareness of the body in space and excellence in line and style
  • to advance flexibility and strength beyond the level necessary for grades
  • to achieve excellence in creativity, improvisational and performance skills
  • to achieve excellence in rhythm and musicality
  • to prepare students for full time vocational training and careers in dance and performing arts