Diploma in Dance Teaching and Learning

Do you teach dance outside of a formal education setting? The Diploma in Dance Teaching and Learning (DDTAL) is a nationally recognised and accredited teaching qualification especially designed for you. The Diploma has been revised to meet the needs of teachers working with students of any age and within a wide range of contexts and settings, including schools, hospitals, care homes, youth dance and community centres.

DDTAL is available through the examinations board of Trinity College London and is equivalent to the Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status, in case you do wish to teach in formal settings.

Trinity Laban has been delivering DDTAL courses since the inception of the Diploma and has submitted the largest number of candidates nationally for examination. As of May 2015, of those who have completed all the Units for the Diploma at Trinity Laban, we have a 100% pass rate and 84% have achieved either a Merit or a Distinction overall. 

Our graduates work in many different contexts and with a range of age groups. Have a look at our Participant Testimonials to get a sense of their areas of work.

Trinity Laban’s DDTAL course consists of 25 training days, plus additional tutorials for Unit 6 (Dance Teaching in Practice). The course days are generally held at weekends. Before you submit your final assessment, the Course Leader will provide you with feedback and support.

Newly revised Diploma

Previously available only for dance teachers working with children and young people, the DDTAL has been revised to meet the needs of teachers working with students of any age and within a wide range of contexts and settings, including schools, hospitals, care homes, youth dance and community centres. It provides evidence and validity of a broad range of dance teaching skills.

The qualification has also been restructured to spread the study area over 6 units instead of 4 units. Units 1 to 3 are at Level 5, offering an accessible way into the qualification, while Units 4 to 6 are at Level 6. Levels 5 and 6 are similar in level to the second and third years of an undergraduate degree.

What our students say

"Taking DDTAL has taught me so much about my own practice and I have developed as a teacher because of it. I have renewed energy and clarity surrounding dance teaching and learning and feel much more informed about the wider industry and my own vision for the future. The staff at Trinity Laban are experts in their fields and it has been a privilege learning from them in the building's beautiful studios." Graduate of 2015

"I thought I would let you know I was observed today teaching AS Dance theory in a classroom and I got outstanding! I'm over the moon and I wanted to say thank you for your feedback when I was last at Laban with the video of me teaching! I know for certain without DDTAL this outcome would not be the case, and I am so grateful for your expertise and support." Current Course member 2016

Who is the Course Leader?

The Course Leader is Dr Lorna Sanders. She was the first assessor for the DDTAL to be appointed by Trinity College London and has been involved with teaching it and assessing candidates since the Pilot Stages in 2009. She is currently the Senior Assessor for the Diploma.

Lorna is also the editor and author of many of the chapters of Dance Teaching and Learning: Shaping Practice, published by One Dance UK.

What does DDTAL provide?

  • A nationally recognised teaching qualification for the informal sector that can also lead to QTLS in the formal sector
  • Evidence to employers and parents/carers that you have the recognised expertise and knowledge to teach dance
  • Relevant, accessible, and up-to-date professional development to improve your teaching skills and broaden your career options

Who is it for?

The DDTAL qualification is for anyone working with any age group in a range of settings and contexts. It is also suitable for anyone wishing to work within the formal sector via its QTLS equivalency. You may focus on children and young people, or on teaching adults, or any mix of ages. It is designed for people with a variety of dance teaching backgrounds - from those new to teaching, to those with many years of experience. It is applicable to practitioners across different dance styles such as contemporary, street dance, and hip hop.

DDTAL provides dance practitioners with recognition of professional knowledge, skills, and quality of work, in addition to a nationally recognised teaching qualification.

If you are less experienced in teaching and leading dance sessions, DDTAL provides training in the theoretical and practical skills of teaching dance. If you are an experienced practitioner, it provides the opportunity to reflect on and develop your practice, as well as gaining a nationally recognised teaching qualification that will enhance your career opportunities.

Programme content

There are six Units of Study (see Training routes for more details):

  • UNIT 1 Teaching and Learning in Dance
  • UNIT 2 Legal Compliance
  • UNIT 3 Professional Knowledge for Dance Teaching
  • UNIT 4 Safe and Effective Practice
  • UNIT 5 Critical Reflection on Dance Teaching
  • UNIT 6 Dance Teaching in Practice

What does Trinity Laban provide?

We offer a flexible, part-time training programme delivered at weekends and holiday times. It includes:

  • Studying within a renowned conservatoire that has an international reputation within the dance sector
  • A rigorous and enjoyable curriculum planned by Dr Lorna Sanders, (who is also the DDTAL Senior Assessor for Trinity College London, the awarding body for the Diploma)
  • Practical workshops, lectures and seminars, led by Dr Lorna Sanders and a range of highly experienced trainers/practitioners
  • Individual support, mentoring, and guidance from the Trinity Laban Professional Development Manager, Dr Lorna Sanders
  • Being part of an informal network of dance practitioners
  • Organisation of the Trinity College London assessment for candidates
  • Access to the Trinity Laban library and other services
  • Alumnus status, giving ongoing access to the Specialist Training Day Programmes at a reduced fee after the course

For more details, have a look at the full Training programme

What experience do I need in order to apply?

The programme is designed for people with a variety of dance experiences, styles, and backgrounds. It does not teach you how to dance. It is focussed on developing teaching skills.

You will have completed dance training that is equivalent to degree level, which ensures you have appropriate dance knowledge, skills, and understanding. However, applicants with other relevant qualifications, or no formal dance qualifications but with significant dance experience, will be considered.

If English is not your first language, you will need written and spoken English skills, as a minimum, at the following level: British Council IELTS Band 6 (General English Test) or above; or a TOEFL score of 560; or the Cambridge First Certificate in English (Grades A or B); or the Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English II; or the Pearson Test of English (score of 52 or above).

Applications from practitioners across a range of dance styles are invited.

Minimum age for undertaking the qualification is 18 years but normally you will be over 21 years of age in order to be considered.

How do I find out more?

Attend one of the Free Advice Sessions; dates are below. Also take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions.

How do I apply?

If you would like to enquire whether your experience is suitable prior to making the online application, please email Dr Lorna Sanders at [email protected] with a copy of your CV and a personal statement. She will email you to discuss your application further.

Applications can be made throughout the year but start dates for each of the six units of study will vary and can be obtained on the Training Programme page. Normally, you will begin with Unit 1 but under certain circumstances you can begin with Units 2 and 3. Please email Dr Sanders for information.

In order to submit a formal application, please set up a profile on Decision Desk and upload the following:

  • An up-to-date CV which outlines your dance experience, teaching experience, contact details, and educational qualifications
  • A headshot (passport photos are acceptable)
  • A personal statement including why you wish to study on this programme and why you wish to teach
  • A copy of your visa if necessary: UK/EU passport holders can apply, but if you are a prospective student from outside of the EU, please contact Dr Sanders for advice.

You will be contacted in due course by the Course Leader, Dr Lorna Sanders, to let you know the outcome of your application.

Read more about the entry requirements and the application process, and apply on the Dance Applications page.

Latest news

  • If want to be considered for starting Unit 1 in September 2016, please contact us at the email addresses below. Unit 1 applications are now open.
  • DDTAL is accepted as a route to QTLS in the formal sector. See Frequently Asked Questions for further information.

Free information session and contact

If you would like to start Unit 1 in September or learn more about the programme, you can attend a free information session:

  • 2 July 2016, 10.30h – 11.30h (attend the whole session)
  • further dates to be added

If you cannot attend and would like to speak with the Course Leader at another time, please contact Dr Lorna Sanders.

For further information or to book your place on an Advice Session, send an email to the Professional Development administrator, or contact the Course Leader with specific questions.

What previous participants have said

“DDTAL is challenging and it really makes you investigate and reflect on your practice and what you think you know. Nothing compares to the feeling of accomplishment I felt when I completed this diploma. It was hard work and I loved every minute of it."

"I had been looking for professional development to help shape and direct my teaching practice. There was nothing out there quite like DDTAL, partly because it was an amazingly strong frame to build my approach to dance on. But also, as a teacher I pass on what I know - so it seemed right to have others pass on what they know about teaching. I feel lucky to have done my DDTAL at Trinity Laban - it's a great building with stunning studios and an excellent library, not to mention the expert teaching staff. I feel that now I can better explain and justify what I teach and how; that I understand children's needs better and have a better view of what their learning should be."

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