Stacy Young, Artistic Director

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Stacy began her dance training in Huntsville, Alabama.  Stacy was selected to be a member of the Alabama Ballet under the direction of Wes Chapman and Roger Van Fleteran.  During this time, she served as a representative to promote the development of classical and contemporary ballet through high-quality performances, dance education, and community outreach. 

Stacy and her fellow Alabama Ballet members had the opportunity to perform for the Balanchine Trust Board to help The Alabama Ballet gain the choreography license for George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®. Stacy is currently serving as a Board Member to the Alabama Dance Council based in Birmingham, Alabama.

Ms. Young is an Auburn University graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. Variations began operating in May of 2007.  Stacy’s journey of opening Variations was covered in the Spotlight Alum section in Keystone, the College of Education’s annual publication and in Southern Tatler Magazine.

Mrs. Young is also the author of Graceful Gift, a children’s picture book designed to help introduce the joy of dance alongside The Graceful Gift Foundation, which focuses on serving children with physical, emotional, or financial circumstances.  

Stacy is beyond thankful to be able to provide such wonderful opportunities for her students to enrich their artistic development.  She happily resides in Auburn with her husband Bryan and their children, Thomas and Aly.


Gretchen Patchell, Ballet Director

Originally from Pennsylvania, Gretchen began dancing at the age of seven, receiving her early training at the esteemed Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet with a strong focus on classical ballet and pointe.  At the age of fourteen, she joined The School of American Ballet in New York City on full scholarship.  There, she attended classes year-round and had the privilege of working and dancing with George Balachine.

Gretchen danced professionally with the New York City Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, and the former Fort Worth Dallas Ballet (now the Texas Ballet Theater) performing and touring in the United States and across Europe for over 12 years, dancing in over 50 shows a year. For over 20 years, Gretchen has taught various ages of students the art of classical ballet and pure technique from youth beginner through the professional level.

Her teaching career brought her across the United States having taught in California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.  She is greatly looking forward to working with the students of Variations this season!


ANSLEE PALMER, Competition Director

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Anslee began her dance training at the Duluth School of Ballet in Atlanta, Georgia and later moved to Birmingham, Alabama where she trained with Alabama Ballet, Birmingham Ballet, and Encore Performance Company. During her time in high school, she taught and choreographed in the Birmingham Area. She then attended Auburn University where she was a member of the Auburn University Marching Band Tiger Eyes Danceline.

Ms. Palmer has also had the opportunity to work professionally for various nationally recognized dance corporations in New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas furthering her administrative and choreographic work experience.

She obtained her Bachelor of Science from Auburn University in Interdisciplinary Studies focusing in business, dance and human development and family studies.  She aims to continue on the path of teaching and choreographing for those younger than her, to empower them to find what they love and to help them see where the Lord leads them


Laura Villalobos, Youth Director

As a professional dancer, Ms. Villalobos has graced the stage with Nevada Ballet Theater, the Dallas Opera, Ballet Oklahoma, Ballet Theater of Maryland, Kentucky Ballet Theater, the Montgomery Ballet and Ballet San Antonio, along with guest appearances with other pre-professional dance companies. She also has experience at the international level, having been invited to represent the United States at the 4th International Ballet and Modern Competition in Nagoya, Japan, as well as representing the Montgomery Ballet at the DAP Festival in Pietrasanta, Italy. 
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Her dance experience has allowed for the development of a strong and versatile multi-disciplinary dance curriculum, implemented by company- affiliated and pre-professional dance organizations. Ms. Villalobos’ is proud to have shared her passion for dance with students of all ages and abilities, from the tiniest dancer to those at the university level and beyond. 


Amanda Demyan, Office Manager

We are thrilled Mrs. Demyan is providing her administrative expertise to our program.  She happily resides in Auburn with her husband Christian, and their two sons, Carter and Walker.


More staff information coming soon!