What Is The ISTP?

Just like with any other profession, dance and teaching of dance has its roots and responsibilities. I try to share all aspects of dance with you, and I think it is important to know about the ISTP. One of the things that you may or may not know is, there is a society to educate and acknowledge our dance teachers and coaches. Here is a little background as to what this exactly means in relation to dance.

The ISTP or the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing is one of the world’s leading dance examination boards. From Ballet to Ballroom, they have twelve dance branches covering theater, dancesport and social dance.

Since 1904, ISTD has provided training for dance teachers and examiners, enabling teachers

to enter their students for examinations, develop new techniques and spread the joy of dance. As a registered educational charity and membership association, the ISTD’s mission is to educate the public in the art of dancing in all of its forms; thus promoting knowledge of dance. The ISTD provides up-to-date techniques for their members while maintaining and improving teaching standards. The ISTD supports their members through updated teaching syllabi and techniques by offering a wide variety of courses, summer schools and congresses.

It all started at the Hotel Cecil in Covent Garden, London. The first Council of Management was formed under the presidency of Robert Morris Crompton in 1906. These technical schools lasted 8 days and were attended by 42 members. Congresses have been held ever since, with the exception of the war years from 1915 to 1917.

In 1907, the first issue of “Dance Journal,” now known as Dance Magazine was published. The development of the ISTD was restricted during and after World War I. It wasn’t until 1924 that the foundation decided to establish separate faculties or branches. By 1930, the number of members climbed to 2,000. 1925 was the year the name changed to: “The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.”

New branches began to be formed to deal with the techniques that developed in dance, such as, Modern Ballroom Dancing, Classical, Classical Ballet – Cecchetti, Method, Greek Dance and Natural Movement, to name a few. In 1931, the Stage Branch was formed to provide a basic training for all dance and specialist stage techniques. The expansion in these new dance areas was immense. By 1938, membership reached 4,000. During World War II, the activities of the ISTD were greatly reduced. The Dance Journal was suspended, but a quarterly bulletin was published. Subscriptions were reduced and a smaller administrative council was appointed. Restricted examinations, annual congresses and general meeting continued.

In 1953, the Grand Council of the ISTD was formed. As the profession expanded in the post-war years, it became apparent that the teachers’ need for an authoritative and comprehensive syllabus in each technique area could be best served by the formation of

branches in each form of dance. And so, more forms of dance were created. Victorian and Sequence Dance was formed in 1948. In 1951, a Historical Dance branch was created. In 1952, A National Dance branch was created and in 1953, Scottish Country Dance was created. The Disco/Freestyle/Rock n’ Roll branch was formed in 1990 to accommodate the forms of social dance materializing from the creative freedom of popular music at that time. The South Asian Dance faculty was formed in 1999 and the name changed to Classical Indian Dance in 2013. The most recent addition to the ISTD family is Club Dance, created in 1999. In 2002, due to the success of the Modern Theatre, it was necessary to split the branch or faculty into two. This split created the Modern Theatre faculty and the Top Dance faculty.

Today, the ISTD has more than 7,500 members in over 50 countries throughout the world and 250,000 examinations each year. The ISTD is a valuable organization to those wanting to open a new dance studio, or become a qualified dance teacher, enter candidates for examinations or even run an event in a certain region of a county.

The ISTD is there to support and help people achieve their goals. And it is important for dancers to know that this organization exists. It might be fun for you to ask the teachers and coaches you train with if they are affiliated with the ISTD.   They just may have some interesting stories to share with you about their dance experiences!

Thought Of The Week:

Hold great visions of what you desire and allow the future to catch up with your dreams – Gabby Bernstein



Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website https://slowmotiondancevideos.com/