The ISTD modern grades start by teaching imaginative exercises, working on expression, balance, coordination, musicality, posture and placing and an awareness of the body and how it moves in the surrounding space. This is all taught through carefully constructed exercises, dance movements and improvisation. Styles taught include, lyrical, contemporary, funky jazz, street jazz, isolations and blues. Senior students also have the option of taking jazz awards. The jazz awards are made up of a shorter syllabus that are done alongside the modern grades. They are done to current music and are aimed to bring out a strong jazz style and a strong sense of performance in all candidates.

All work is technically based, therefore, a strong understanding of classical technique is required, especially in the higher grades. From grade 4 modern it is compulsory that all exam candidates attend one ballet class per week to assist with the strength and stamina that is required.