EXAMINATIONS GUIDE FOR MEDAL TESTS
Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD Exams)
Medal Tests and Awards build up progressively, ensuring that steps and skills learned at the lower levels prepare for more complex and higher quality movements as the candidate makes progress.
The introductory tests start at Under 6 and go through to Pre Bronze. The Medal series then progresses from Bronze through to Gold.
The ISTD is one of the most highly recognized and prestigious dance exam bodies in the world and having Certification from this organisation can give students a high sense of achievement.
BEFORE THE EXAM
You will receive an email with the closing date for entries and what is required. Please ensure that you have sent out all the relevant information and the examination fee before the closing date for entries. The Examination fees are separate from the class / lesson fees.
Please note: We do not put students through for an exam unless we are confident that they will be fully prepared and ready to perform at their assigned level, by the exam date. We have had very good results so far and would like to keep this standard.
ON THE DAY OF THE EXAM
Filming and photography of ISTD examinations by any means, including I-pads and mobile phones, is not permitted. Candidates can get disqualified. There are no exceptions.
Candidates should be well groomed and appropriately dressed for Ballroom & Latin American dancing. Candidates should attend the exam in their class uniform and Ballroom dance shoes, as below:
- Boys: Black top (vest or t-shirt), black dance trousers (no other types of trousers are acceptable), Ballroom dance shoes. Hair should be neatly combed away from the face.
- Girls (under 12): Black leotard & black dance skirt, white ankle socks, Ballroom dance shoes. Hair should neatly combed away from the face in a bun, ponytail or braid.
- Girls (over 12): Black leotard & black dance skirt, flesh coloured tights, Ballroom dance shoes. Hair should neatly combed away from the face in a bun, ponytail or braid.
Candidates are assigned to a time slot. Candidates should be ready in their uniform and dance shoes, and wait outside the exam room 5 minutes before their allocated exam time. Examiners do not wait and will move swiftly on to the next candidate on the list.
Candidates are being examined one at a time. Depending on their level and the number of dances they are being examined on, their exam lasts from 3 to 20 minutes. The teacher partners up those candidates with a solo entry (without a partner). The teacher is not permitted to give any specific feedback about the candidate’s performance before their Report is issued.
Special adjustments may be made to the examination conditions where candidates have particular needs.
AFTER THE EXAM
At the time of the exam, the examiner will write a detailed report on the candidate’s performance and give a % mark. Please feel free to discuss your child’s exam result with us at any time following the receipt of their Report and mark.
Reports, Certificates, & Medals
These are sent to the dance school about 4 weeks following the exam. Reports, Certificates, and Medals are sent out in 3 separate deliveries, and candidates will therefore receive these at 3 different time points.
We keep a record of the level(s) each student has been examined on, and the comments and marks they received from the examiner so that we can help them with their progress. Please note that it is notpossible for a student to take the same examination twice.
The Dances (Genres)
Modern Ballroom Dances: Slow Waltz, Quickstep, Tango, Foxtrot
Latin American Dances: Cha cha cha, Rumba, Jive, Samba, Paso Doble
Social Dances: Bachata, Swing, Salsa
In the Under 6, Under 8, Social Dance and Pre-Bronze Tests, dances from different genres may be used, e.g. a candidate may take the Waltz (Modern Ballroom) and Cha Cha Cha (Latin American) or Bachata (Social Dance) and Rumba (Latin American). When entering mixed genres, this will appear as ‘IDF’ (Imperial Dancesport Faculties) on the candidates Certificates but their Report will specify the dances they were examined on. If the candidate is examined on 2 Latin American dances or 2 Modern Ballroom dances, this will appear as ‘Latin American Faculty’ or ‘Modern Ballroom Faculty’ respectively.
In the Under 6, Under 8, Social Dance and Pre-Bronze Tests, there are 4 Levels. Skipping a level is not recommended as students are still building foundations for a higher level of dancing in subsequent exams (Bronze and above), where there are no levels and the examiner focuses on a lot more technicality, artistry and accuracy.
- Under 6 Dance Tests (Levels 1, 2, 3, 4)
These tests are designed to encourage very young pupils and to act as an introduction to the examination system. Two dances should be shown. There is no technical requirement and Levels 2, 3 and 4 require a progressively higher standard of dancing than Level 1. The examiner focuses on appropriate movements and the beginnings of timing awareness in all levels.
- Under 8 Dance Tests (Levels 1, 2, 3, 4)
As for Under 6.
- Social Dance Tests (Levels 1, 2, 3, 4)
These are introductory tests at a social level, which may be taken by candidates of any age group (5 and over). Two dances should be shown in each test and a minimum of two figures shown in each dance. Technical accuracy is not expected but Levels 2, 3 and 4 require a progressively higher standard of dancing than part 1. Posture, staying in time with the music is of primary importance in all levels.
- Pre-Bronze Dance Tests (Levels 1, 2, 3, 4)
These tests may be taken by candidates of any age group (5 and over) in any dance that has a formal technique, and the dancing should show the beginnings of technical awareness. Levels 2, 3 and 4 require a higher standard of dancing than Level 1. Two dances should be shown in each test using a minimum of 3 figures from the dance school’s Bronze syllabus in each dance.
- One Dance Tests
At Social Dance and Pre-Bronze standard:
When students are not yet ready be examined in 2 or more dances in one go, they start with a selected single dance they are confident and prepared in.
At Bronze, Silver, Gold and Gold Star standard:
One Dance Tests can also be taken to prepare students for an additional dance before they move on to a more advanced exam standard (see Bronze 1 and 2 section below).
- Medal Series (Bronze 1, Bronze 2, Silver, Gold)
Tests must be passed sequentially from Bronze to Gold. In these standards, Medal tests are taken for Latin American and Modern Ballroom separately. For example, candidates can only take 2 Latin dances for a Bronze Medal in Latin American and 2 Ballroom dances for a Bronze Medal in Modern Ballroom, and so on.
Bronze 1 and 2
Candidates are required to take 2 Latin dances for a Bronze Medal in Latin American and 2 Ballroom dances for a Bronze Medal in Modern Ballroom. Candidates are expected to dance more extended dance routines to the Pre-Bronze levels.
In order to use the Medal Test system to best advantage, candidates who have passed the Bronze test in Modern Ballroom are encouraged to take a Bronze 2 test showing another 2 dances (to cover all 4 Ballroom dances listed in ‘The Dances: Genres’ section above), before moving on to Silver. In the case of Latin American, an additional One Dance Test is strongly recommended (to cover all 5 dances listed in ‘The Dances: Genres’ section above) before moving to Silver.
At Bronze standard, examiners are looking forstraight poise – including the head position and eye level, accuracy of footwork and foot positioning, leg and hip action, correct use of the arms and musical awareness appropriate to this standard. Features related to specific dances are also looked at in greater detail such as the bounce action in Samba, the rise and fall in the Waltz and so on. Good presentation always achieves some extra marks.
Candidates are required to take 3 Latin dances for a Silver Medal in Latin American and 3 Ballroom dances for a Silver Medal in Modern Ballroom.
At Silver standard, students build on their Bronze dance routines and dance a more extended choreography in each dance. At Silver standard, the examiners are assessing all the elements in Bronze (mentioned above) in more detail. The ability to show the characterization of each dance, and the candidate’s presentation and performance skills are also assessed.
Candidates are required to take 4 Latin dances for a Gold Medal in Latin American and 4 Ballroom dances for a Gold Medal in Modern Ballroom. At Gold level, students start getting into more competitive dance routines, building on their routines from the previous medals.
At this standard, the examiners are looking for all the elements assessed in Bronze and Silver in all 4 dances in each genre (Modern Ballroom and Latin American). Candidates should demonstrate attention to detail in their technique and presentation.
Additional Awards and Career Opportunities
Candidates who are successful at Gold standard can continue to take Gold Stars 1, 2 and 3, the Imperial Dance Awards 1, 2 and 3, Josephine Bradley Award and the Supreme Award. Successful candidates at Supreme Award level can progress to the Higher Awards – the Alex Moore Award and the Annual Award. Those candidates who have gained the Supreme Award or other Higher Awards can progress, if they so wish, to a performing or competitive career in the Dance Sport genres.
Honours: 85% and over
Commended: 75 – 84%
Pass: 65 – 74%
Unsuccessful on this occasion: 0 – 64%
Have more questions? Click here to contact us.
Normal hours of operation: Monday – Friday (excluding Bank holidays) 9.30am – 6.30pm