The Principal, Mrs Sara Mulligan, trained at the Yvonne Academy and the Royal Ballet School and finally gained her teaching qualifications and registered status on graduating from the Royal Academy of Dance as a Licentiate (LRAD). She is also qualified and registered with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (AISTD). As part of the three year teacher training programme at the RAD, the study and passing of in-depth anatomy exams was compulsory in order to achieve the final qualification. This is very important to avoid strain and other complications when teaching children to dance. Sara was also an 'exhibitioner' at the Royal Academy of Music for five years studying piano, violin and composition.
Sara has run her own dance schools since 1984 and introduced the music school, (Crescendo Music Academy), in 1998. She has trained pupils who have been accepted at many of Britain's finest vocational schools including the Royal Ballet School, Elmhurst School, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Arts Educational School, Central School of Ballet, Urdang Academy, Italia Conti, London Studio Centre, London College of Dance,London Theatre School, The Brit School, Hammond School and West Street School. Several students have also gone on to pursue a career in performing - both in the UK and abroad - and others have qualified as dance teachers. Some of the music students, who achieved the grade 8 exam whilst at Crescendo, have now graduated from university with music degrees and have pursued performing and teaching careers. The music branch now offers lessons in Piano, Keyboard, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Recorder, Violin, Drum-kit, Ukelele, Oboe and Singing.
Variations offers training for those wishing to pursue a career in performing or teaching, but also lessons for those who would like to learn "just for fun" or exercise; pupils are accepted from 2½ years old right up to senior citizens - beginners to advanced at all ages. They welcome everyone and endeavour to accomodate every student's requirements, including the disabled.
They especially encourage boys to join the dance side of the School. The Principal's sons are both accomplished dancers - see 'Profiles'. There are entries for dance and music examinations at all sessions (three times a year), and preparation for auditions and competitions for anyone interested. There are also plenty of performance opportunities both in Variations' school shows and Crescendo concerts and in outside productions, such as West End Charity Galas (venues have included Sadler's Wells, the Palladium, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and Her Majesty's Theatre) and the annual Redbridge Dance Link Concert. Children from 8 to 15 years old may also audition for performances staged by the London Children's Ballet and the National Youth Ballet and Sara is constantly updated on many other exciting events.
The emphasis at Variations is on providing a happy, friendly and supportive environment for pupils to learn and develop both as performers and as people with equal opportunities for all.