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Dance is our business. The Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dancing is one of the world's great international dance societies proudly serving dance for over 80 years.

2013 marked the 80th Anniversary of the Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dancing (CSTD).

The Society had its beginnings in 1933 with the formation of the National Examination System and the Victorian Society of Dancing. Established in 1931 and 1933 respectively, the two organisations were founded to establish Examination Standards and to raise the standard of dance in Australia.

The later amalgamation of the two societies into the Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dancing consolidated the work of the two organisations into one democratic society which today occupies a unique position amongst the dance societies of the world, catering for all major forms of dance.

Examinations are held throughout Australia and the Asian Pacific Region in the various syllabi.

The national operations of the Society are managed by an Executive Committee elected annually by the membership. The real estate assets of the Society are administered by the Board of Trustees.

Teacher Qualifications

Teachers who have a full teachers’ diploma use the letters CSTD together with the distinguishing letters for the syllabus, eg. CSTD/CB (Classical Ballet).

Affiliate membership is available to teachers of dancing, professional dancers and student dance teachers who do not hold the Society’s teaching qualification.

82 Years
CSTD Dancing
CSTD Dancing
CSTD Dancing
CSTD Dancing
Singapore Heritage
HOW CSTD started in Singapore

BETTY TILLEY, 1934-2009
First CSTD Asia-Pacific Director

CSTD Singapore began with an arranged meeting in 1996 between Examiner Betty Tilley and Barbara Hannan, a Singapore-based Scottish dance and ballet enthusiast. Barbara who hails from the UK heard that CSTD offered Highland dance exams and wasted no time in organising workshops for this under the Peopleʼs Association, together with Ballet and Tap which was a big part of the CSTD.

She became the Organiser for CSTD Singapore that year, and later Malaysia and India. Jazz Ballet soon followed and introductory courses were held at Crestar School of Dance (Cre-Ed), which was the first school to hold CSTD examinations in 1997 (below).

CSTD Director

The first examination session was held here in 1997. After the first few exam sessions had been held here, Mrs Tilley mooted the idea of holding a Summer School in 1997. Since that time one has been held every single year, with wonderful and inspiring teachers, and that played a big part in the growth of CSTD.

Not only that, in 1999 she suggested organising an Asia-Pacific Competition to provide more performance opportunities for students in the region and for them to learn from each other in the spirit of friendly competition. That reached its 16th edition this year with the return to its birthplace, Singapore after 4 years.

One of Bettyʼs aims was to build up a community of teachers and that is certainly what we have now achieved as we go forward into the future.

National CSTD President Diane Gepp and International Director Debbie McRitchie are both the late Betty Tilley's daughters and living testament to CSTD's philosophy of "Dance for life" and a "dancing family"!

20 years of Highlights & Achievements
1990: Examinations commence in Malaysia
1996: First Teachersʼ Seminar held in Singapore, Examinations commence in Thailand
1997: Examinations commence in Singapore, First Singapore Summer School
1999: First CSTD Asia-Pacific Competition held in Singapore, Examinations commence in India
2000: Accreditation of C.S.T.D. Syllabi by Ministry of Education, Professional Development Course for Dance Teachers launched with C.C.A. Branch, MOE Singaporea
2003: Summer School held in conjunction with Peopleʼs Association C.S.T.D. becomes a P.A. “2LD” partner (Lifeskills & Lifestyle) C.S.T.D. teaching qualifications accredited by P.A.
2006: C.S.T.D. Singapore celebrates 10 years of growth
2008: C.S.T.D. celebrates Diamond Jubilee – 75 Years of Service to Dance
2009: 11th Asia Pacific Dance Competition held in Thailand, 5000+ candidates examined under Singapore, Malaysia & India
2011: Examination centres for West Malaysia & East Malaysia established
2013: CSTDʼs 80th Anniversary Summer School & Concert in Singapore
2014: 16th Asia Pacific Dance Competition held in Singapore

Examination Organisers operate in each State in Australia.

Overseas examinations are serviced from Asia Pacific Office with local organisers in major centers.


The Board of Examiners cover Classical Ballet, Modern Jazz, Contemporary, Tap and Theatrical. Ballroom Syllabi are examined by a separate Examination Board.

Before being appointed, Examiners must not only hold the appropriate teaching and experience qualifications, but must complete a rigorous two-year training period, then pass an Examiner's Examination in front of three Examiners.


Throughout Australia and overseas each year, the total number of Candidates examined by the Society continues to grow rapidly in all forms of dance.

In our 80 years of operation the Society has made a major contribution to dance, and its standing today is a reflection of the dedication and professional standards set over this time.

Expression, Education, Encouragement & Enjoyment (Please click Photo)


We believe that when a child learns to dance they must also express something of themselves. We aim to develop the personality in your children and teach them how to present themselves, as well as musical expression.

Besides ballet steps they will learn how to tell a familiar story in dance and to express their own culture as well as that of others through dance.



We want your children to understand what they are doing and why and how their body is working to achieve this. From day one they will learn that every step and position has a name and these can be joined together in many different ways.

From Grade 2 they will learn how to work out some of these for themselves and perform them on their own.



Whether in class, in the examination room or on the stage, we believe in the importance of encouraging your children to give to the best of their own ability, and assessment is based on their own personal achievement.

Every child is an individual and what may be easy for one may be a milestone for another. We recognize this and give praise where it is due and constructive criticism where it is needed.



Children should enjoy learning to dance beyond just moving to the music. While there are many different exercises that must be practiced first, these are varied so that each week the class will be a little different.

A child who is stimulated will learn more readily and perform better. We want your child to leave class with a sense of achievement and come back next week ready to achieve more.