History of BTDA

Patrons: Engelbert Humperdinck and Brian Rogers

Since Miss Ann Oliver MBE founded the British Theatre Dance Association in Leicester in 1972, the BTDA has expanded throughout the UK and is now well established in many countries throughout the world. From the outset, the BTDA has set itself very high standards and worked to deliver a personalised service and individual contact with principals and teachers alike. These factors have had a significant effect on the growth of the organisation.

What BTDA has to offer:

The BTDA has a carefully structured series of awards to suit every age and level of student.
The first level - Rose Award System - is designed to build confidence in candidates from 3 to 8 years old.
Rose Awards are a stepping stone to the comprehensive Medal Test System, Taking candidates from 'Medals' through 'Stars', 'Shields' and 'Statuettes' to the highest level 'Cups'.
Crystal Awards are a progressive set of awards that are based on the first five levels of the graded examinations of the BTDA programme of study.

A series of Non-Regulated and Regulated General Graded Examinations in Theatre Dance (regulated qualifications are awarded by the Graded Qualifications Alliance, GQAL) make up the next level. Students follow a carefully designed programme of study developed by BTDA that aims to develop amongst many things, personal expression, social and physical skills, teamwork and performance.
The disciplines of Classical Ballet, Tap, Modern Jazz, Greek, Lyrical and Acrobatic dance can be pursued with preliminary examinations starting at Pre-preparatory, then Preparatory, Primary and lastly to an Introduction to Grade 1.

Auxiliary subjects (in National Dance, Choreography, Modelling and Speech and Drama, Performing Arts and Educational Freestyle) take students from Preparatory and Primary levels, through several Grades and Diplomas depending on the subject chosen.

Further Educational Vocational Examinations:

Vocational Graded Examinations in Theatre Dance are the highest level of qualification based on BTDA programmes, offered through the Graded Qualifications Alliance GQAL. Students can study the disciplines of Classical Ballet, Tap and Modern Jazz and commence at Intermediate level, through three advanced levels to the Diploma in Professional Development. The programmes aims to develop performance skills and technique, choreography, direction and teaching and the cultural and physiological aspects of dance.

The BTDA is committed to ensuring access to all students who have the capacity to safely participate in its examinations.

BTDA Graded Examinations in Dance make a significant contribution to education and the performing arts because they:

    •    encourage individual students to express themselves through dance
    •    enable students to work towards qualifications that open up career opportunities
    •    place an emphasis on performance
    •    provide students with opportunities to experience, understand and valuethe language and art of dance
    •    enable students to develop a broad base of skills and abilities indifferent disciplines.
    •    allow students to develop their social skills and their own personalities
    •    our examinations are accredited into the National Framework

The BTDA offer the following Preliminary Examinations and awards:

Preliminary Examinations

  • Pre-Preparatory (Tap)
  • Preparatory (Ballet, Tap, Modern, Acrobatic)
  • Primary (Ballet, Tap, Modern, Acrobatic)
  • Introduction to Grade 1 (Ballet)

Auxiliary Subjects

  • Choreography (Grade 1 - Diploma Level)
  •  Modelling (Grade 1 - Diploma Level)
  • Speech & Drama (Preparatory - Grade 8)
  • Educational Freestyle (Preparatory - Grade 5)
  • Performing Arts (Grade 1 - Grade 5)

The BTDA offer the following Accredited Qualifications and awards:

General Graded examinations

  • Grade 1 - Grade 8 ( Ballet, Tap, Modern, Greek, Lyrical, Acrobatic)

Vocational Graded Examinations

  • Intermediate (Ballet, Tap, Modern)
  • Advanced Foundation (Ballet, Tap, Modern)
  • Advanced 1 (Ballet, Tap, Modern)
  • Advanced 2 (Ballet, Tap, Modern)
  • Diploma in Professional Development (Ballet, Tap, Modern)


To see a table demonstrating how the Graded Qualifications fit into the Qualifications and Credit Framework please contact Head Office.