The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) with its headquarters at Imperial House, 22-26 Paul Street, London EC2A 4QE, England, is the leading dance examinations board in the world. It was founded on July 25 1904 at the Hotel Cecil at the Convent Garden in London and was initially known as the Imperial Society of Dance Teachers. The name was changed to the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in 1925. The ISTD is today a registered educational charity and is the only organization that covers the full spectrum of dance examinations on a truly global scale.
Every year, about 250,000 people are examined, for which the ISTD provides grade examinations and medal tests to assess their proficiency. The many styles of dances for which students are examined include Ballet, Modern, Tap, National, Classical Greek, Disco, Ballroom and Latin American. In Malaysia, Ballroom and Latin American dance students can opt to take the ISTD medal tests starting with the Bronze and continuing with the Silver, Gold, Gold Star, etc. Those aspiring to become dance teachers will usually start with the Student Teacher examination before progressing to the Associate, Licentiate and Fellowship levels.
Recently, while browsing through their website www.istd.org, I chanced upon the article "Dance Issue 446" which was chronicled in the "Examinations" menu. This article highlighted the examination successes recorded at the ISTD HQ from August 5 to November 6 2008. My attention was drawn to the results of the Ballroom and Latin American exams. The number of students who passed the Ballroom Associate exams was 19, of which 6 each were from the UK and Hong Kong, 2 each from South Korea and Taiwan and 1 each from Vietnam, Germany and Finland. For the Licentiate exams, there were 7 who passed - 3 each from the UK and South Korea and 1 from Hong Kong.
In the Latin American Associate examinations, a total of 31 students were successful. Half of those or 16 who passed, were from South Korea. Eight were from Hong Kong, 4 from the UK, 2 from Vietnam and 1 from Taiwan. For the Licentiate examinations, there were 4 who made the grade. Three were from the UK while the other one was from South Korea. We can see the keen interest shown in the ISTD exams from the Asian countries, particularly South Korea and Hong Kong. This will certainly help raise the standard and auger well for the future of Ballroom and Latin American dancing in Asia.