We offer an internationally recognised portfolio of exams designed to motivate and encourage students of all ages and abilities.


Exams are aimed at all levels, from beginners to those on the threshold of a career in dance, and from ages 2½ to adult. 

Our exams provide:

  • achievable goals

  • recognition from the world’s largest ballet examination board, and

  • qualifications accredited by UK regulatory authorities.


Candidates cannot enter themselves for an examination. Teachers must hold Registered Teacher Status of the Royal Academy of Dance and be a current Member.


Types of exams ?quick guide

A guide to exams, awards, content, assessment and venues.

Type of award What? Assessed? Where?
Demonstration Classes
(Dance to Your Own Tune)
Free content, led by teacher No, the Examiner only observes AEC or RAV
Solo Performance Award (Grade 1-5) 3 solo dances, at least 2 from
exam syllabus
Yes, as per award criteria AEC or RAV
Class awards (Pre-Primary in Dance to Grade 5 and Discovering Repertoire) Class award syllabus (a selection of exercises and one dance), led by the teacher Yes, a broad indication of standard rather than a detailed breakdown AEC or RAV
Presentation classes (Grades 6-7 and 8) Selection of exercises from the syllabus, led by the teacher (Grades 6 - 7) or the examiner (Grade 8) No, the examiner only observes, and for Grade 8, conducts the class AEC or RAV
Exams (graded, vocational and Discovering Repertoire) Candidates perform the exam syllabus Yes, as per exam criteria AEC or RAV
Solo Seal Candidates perform three variations and a virtuoso finale for a panel of judges and an audience Yes, by a panel of judges, an RAD examiner and a dance professional approved by the Artistic Director RAV or theatre venue
AEC - Approved Examination Centre, normally the teacher’s own studio.
RAV - RAD Approved Venue, premises provided by the RAD.


For Syllabus updates and amendments please click on this link:




  • Dance to Your Own Tune (Demonstration Class) is the curriculum for children from 2½ to 5 years.

  • The Graded syllabus (Pre-Primary in Dance, Primary in Dance and Grade 1 ?8) provides a broad practical dance education and develops technical, musical and performance skills (age 5+).

  • Vocational Graded Examinations (Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced Foundation, Advanced 1, Advanced 2) provide an in-depth study of ballet and prepare students for a career in dance (age 11+).

Note: Graded and Vocational Graded Examinations can be taken at the same time.


Age Requirements

It is up to a teacher to identify when a candidate is ready to take an exam. For demonstration classes, the following target ages apply:

Level Target age
Pre-school Dance Curriculum: Level 1 2½ - 3½
Pre-school Dance Curriculum: Level 2 3½ - 4½ or 5

There are age requirements for RAD exams, class awards, solo performance awards and presentation classes.

The minimum age must have been reached by a specified date before each exam session.

The actual dates are determined on a country-by-country / regional basis.

The cut off dates are included in the entry form, so when you select your relevant country and session, the entry form will highlight where a candidate will be too young for the session.

Alternatively, contact the RAD office in Johannesburg for dates.


Level Minimum age
Pre-Primary in Dance 5
Primary in Dance 6
Grades 1-5 7
Grades 6-8 11
Intermediate Foundation 11
Intermediate 12
Advanced Foundation 13
Advanced 1 14
Advanced 2 15
Solo Seal Award 15


Minimum time for an examination visit

Requirements to host AEC tours in main city areas, outlying towns and neighbouring countries differ and the following should be noted:

Main City Areas: The minimum time for an examination visit to an individual studio/school is three hours (excluding breaks). Teachers who are either unable to provide the minimum number of hours or do not wish to pay the minimum fee level (as shown in the fees table) are required to join with other studios/schools or attend another centre.

Outlying Towns: A minimum of five hours examining time is required for the visit to take place. This applies to centres where travel time exceeds 1½ hours and where the examiner is required to stay overnight.

Other African Countries and Mauritius: A minimum of three days examining. Further conditions apply.


Exam prerequisites

Prerequisite qualifications for entry to vocational graded exams apply as follows:

Examination Prerequisite
Intermediate Foundation None
Intermediate None
Advanced Foundation Intermediate
Advanced 1 Intermediate
Advanced 2 Advanced 1
Solo Seal Advanced 2 (Distinction)


Equivalent ballet qualifications from the following organisations are accepted:

  • British Ballet Organisation (BBO / bbodance)

  • British Theatre Dance Association (BTDA)

  • Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD)

  • International Dance Teachers’ Association (IDTA)

Where, exceptionally, candidates enter for an exam and the prerequisite in the same session, the award of the exam will be dependent on the prerequisite also being passed.




If you can’t find what you are looking for, please email us at exams@rad.org.za




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