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.


Sara Havener, Ballet Director

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Sara Havener is originally from North Carolina and began dancing at the age of 5 with a focus in jazz, tap, and ballet. Sara spent eight years training and competing in national dance competitions, later graduating in 2010 from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with a focus in ballet.

She began her professional career with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, under the direction of Ethan Stiefel, performing soloist roles such as the Grace Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty and the Peasant Pas de Deux in Act I of Giselle.

Sara also spent three years as a company dancer with the Atlanta Ballet, where she performed lead roles such as the Snow Queen and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, and the lead Pas de Deux in a contemporary ballet Home in 7, choreography by Amy Seiwart. While at the Atlanta Ballet she also had the opportunity to tour to Canada and perform Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16, in the Fall for Dance North festival.  She also danced in Benjamin Millepied's work, 28 Variations on a Theme by Paganini and in Balanchine's Who Cares. 

Sara has extensive teaching experience with ballet schools in the Southeast and in New Zealand, and has trained in all different forms and styles of dance.

Sara finds nothing more rewarding than to help others discover confidence and beauty within themselves through dance and is absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Variations Dance Studio family.


ANSLEE PALMER, Competition Director

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 Anslee began her dance training at the Duluth School of Ballet and later moved to Birmingham, Alabama where she performed locally with the Alabama Ballet and Birmingham Ballet in The Nutcracker, Madeline and the Red Shoes, and Peter Pan. Ms. Palmer also competed locally and nationally with Encore Performance Company’s Competition Team. She was a member of the Auburn University Marching Band Tiger Eyes Danceline.

Ms. Palmer had the opportunity to work professionally for PTC Productions LLC in New York, New York under Pam Chancey alongside world-renowned choreographers and teachers at The PULSE on Tour and Camp Pulse events. She worked with The 2015 Young Choreographers Festival in NYC and assisted in booking and coordinating performers for the event. Through this experience, she worked with many industry professionals such as Diane King, Broadway Dance Center Executive Director, Brian Friedman, world-famous choreographer, performer, director, and producer, as well as Brandon Sierra, Director at Clear Talent Group Agency, to name a few.


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.


Maddy Bonifay, jazz/Hip-hop

Madeline completed her dance training at North Alabama Dance Center in Huntsville, Alabama.  Madeline competed locally and nationally, and trained closely under industry professionals such as Robert Hoffman, Brooke Lipton, and Tyce Diorio.  

Ms. Bonifay was selected to work alongside the Company Dance Tour. In this position, she was given the opportunity to travel with the staff and assist during convention classes across the United States.  Through this experience, Madeline trained closely with industry professionals such as Robert Roldan, Kayla Radomski, Tucker Barkley, Gregg Russell, Tyce Diorio, Judy Rice, Nancy O’Meara, Katie Schaar, Barry Youngblood, and Chris Jones.

She also had the opportunity to further her dance training in Los Angeles at Millennium Dance Complex, Movement Lifestyle, and Tap into the Network under scholarship for summer intensive programs during Summer of 2014.  Xcel Talent Agency of Atlanta, Georgia represents Madeline as both an actress and dancer.  Through this organization, Madeline has had the opportunity to perform professionally in the commercial industry.

Madeline will be graduating this Spring with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University.  While she wishes to work in industry with her engineering degree, Madeline aspires to also continue choreographing and teaching dance.


Linzie Atkinson, preballet/5/6 Combo

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Linzie Bankhead Atkinson is a native of Mobile, Al and grew up training with Mobile Ballet and Sheffield School of the Dance.  Linzie performed with The Mobile Ballet Company and was featured in Dracula, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Cinderella and Copellia.  She studied extensively with The Joffrey School of Ballet on scholarship and The American Ballet Theatre.

She also competed with the Sheffield School of the Dance Company, where she won many prestigious awards and scholarships.  She was selected to travel with the Tremaine Dance Convention and assisted renowned choreographers such as Joe Tremaine, Desiree Robbins, Doug Caldwell, Kerri Legrand. She auditioned and was selected to be in the first Tremaine Performance Company.  She performed in the Costa Rica Jazz Festival and assisted for Liza Minnelli while on tour.

Linzie attended Auburn University where she became an Auburn University Tiger Paw for four consecutive years.  She competed for three years at the Universal Dance Association College National Dance Championships with the Tiger Paw Dance team.  She continued to assist Miss Desiree and travel with Tremaine Dance Convention throughout the country. Miss Linzie graduated from Auburn University in 2009 with a degree in Marketing.

Linzie is excited to be joining the Variations team for the upcoming season!  She happily resides in Auburn with her husband Adam and their daughter Kaylee.


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!