Dancing school based in Dorchester, Dorset offering dance classes, performing arts, musical theatre, tap, ballet, street dance, cheerleading, singing, boys dance classes and adult dance classes.

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Examinations in Modern Theatre, Tap and Classical Ballet for our Junior 1 students and above

During classes, our students will be learning one of the ISTD’s carefully structured dance syllabi.  Each week they will progress together with their teacher through a selection of technical exercises and performance sequences created by an expert team of dance and theatre creators.  THE STUDIO is proud to be a member of The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, one of the world’s leading dance examination boards.  Since 1904, the ISTD has been providing expert training for dance teachers, enabling them to enter their students for examinations, develop new techniques and spread the joy of dance.

Examinations are such a positive and confidence enhancing experience, we couldn’t recommend them more.  Students have a clear goal and will be able to see the reward for their hard work and progress at each and every level they study at. And they achieve so many further skills as well, skills such as self-discipline, how to prepare for an important event and the importance of practice towards it, individual presentation and teamwork.   Furthermore, many of our examinations hold a points value with The National Qualifications Framework (NFQ), meaning that students can use their points achieved from their dance exams for college and university applications, and even towards higher level qualifications in later years.


Examination Invitations

Once a class has reached an exam ready standard, students will receive an examination invitation, inviting them to book for their exam via our website. Please do carefully note the closing date on your invitation as late entries unfortunately cannot be accepted by the examinations board. Before accepting your invitation and making your booking, please check the examination preparation schedule and ensure you are able to make each practice.


Booking Online

Each entrant will need to make two separate bookings via our website, information and closing dates for these will be sent via email.  Please see here for our current Examination fees.



Examination Preparation

During examination preparation, our students will be taken through a short course of valuable prep sessions.  These will help to secure their syllabus work, strengthen their knowledge and develop their overall performance.  The additional hours really accelerate the student’s technical and artistic capability, and make a vital difference to their overall result.  Exam Preparation runs across a two-week period prior to the exam date and must be attended by those entering their examination.


Being Ready

In most cases, all students will be exam ready together as a group, but if a class member has perhaps started with us part way through the academic year, shown limited attendance for injury or illness, or missed some of the previous levels, we can offer some additional top up lessons to make sure they are fully prepared, the most important thing for us is to ensure that each and every individual is at the necessary point to go into an exam situation, and that the entire experience is positive, enjoyable and rewarding.  From our wonderful 5-year olds through to our inspiring young adults, we always endeavour to create happy exam memories for everyone involved.

As we have mentioned already, practice is key, and we encourage our students to set aside some time and space at home to rehearse their exam work, most of the exercises and sequences are performed one at a time in the examination meaning instant memory recall and all with confidence and a smile. To assist with home practice, families will be sent a link to a class drop box file containing syllabus music and other helpful documents to support their learning.



Following the exam, the examiner will submit his or her markings to The ISTD Head Quarters in London where they will be checked and moderated before being released to the registered school, this can take anything up to 12 weeks.  An individual report detailing the student’s areas of success and improvement will be available at this stage as well as an official certificate which will be presented on stage at THE STUDIO presentation day held each year.


Planning Ahead

We ask families to keep the duration of the exam day(s) free, once we have our official timetable from the exams board, closer to the exam, we will be able to post specific times.

Please ensure you have the correct items of uniform and kit ready for your exam, and that they are in a presentable condition and fit well. You can view or download a copy of your class uniform list here:

Heres a few further notes about presentation.

Ballet skirts and belts must be worn on the waist, please pop a stitch in the waistband if they slip down to the hips.

We always recommend new tights/socks for exam day to help the students look their best.


Is fine for Senior 3 and above but very light and natural shades only.


None for any age, newly pierced ears are fine with a small stud.


No brightly coloured nails, only clear/French nail polish.  Toe nails will be on show for Modern and Contemporary examinations so should be neatly trimmed.  Finger nails should be a reasonable length.

Skin Markings

Body glitter, temporary or permanent tattoos, henna etc are not permitted and must not be visible for the examination.


We aim for invisibility with this. Younger girls should wear none (please tell them it’s like wearing a swimming costume!) Older girls will need seamless flesh coloured underwear including a proper flesh coloured dance bra with clear elastic strapping, please note that normal bras are not suitable for dance, the correct support and fabric is part of safe dance practice.  Male dancers should have a dance belt as part of their kit.

Hair For Modern, Tap, Musical Theatre, Contemporary & Street

Theatre styles are very much a personal choice, all the hair needs to be up and exceptionally neat using plenty of spray / gel etc. Older girls should avoid younger pigtail styles.  Please use hair bands  which are either clear, the colour of your hair or matching to your uniform. Small scrunchies and so on are allowed though must be understated. Thin short fringes are fine for theatre.  Please consider floor work – From Junior 2 and beyond, students need to be able to lie flat on the back of their head without their style getting in the way.  Also long ponytails or plaits can make turns difficult.  All styles need to be tight and very secure to ensure the students can dance their best without their style falling loose.

Please make sure you have tested out your chosen style at a couple of classes before the exam.

Hair For Ballet

This is a little more definitive. Styles need to be traditionally classical, so either a bun, wrapped plaits, or tucked under French plait(s).  Buns must not sit about the top of the head when looking at the dancer, ballet is all about creating simplistic lines with nothing distracting the art form itself.  All of the hair needs to be up and secure to the head and unlike the theatrical styles, no accessories or adornments can be used. Super neat, super tidy but less is more.

Hair For Boys

Also neat, tidy and well groomed. Products and gel etc is absolutely fine, but should be minimised for the traditional look needed for ballet. Boys with long hair may be required to secure their hair back or have a band, your teacher will be able to advise.


Making sure you have ticked off all the above will have a really positive impact on your exam, if you feel neat and tidy you will definitely dance neat and tidy too. The peformer’s presentation will be reflected in the overall mark and gives the examiner a good first impression.