2019 was a very busy and productive year. In March, we presented three items in the Redbridge Dance Link Concert. On Sunday 31st March we staged our music concert at the Memorial Hall in South Woodford, offering performances on a wide range of instruments plus singing. The items covered a variety of musical genres which really displayed the pupils' talent. (The afternoon started with a more informal gathering for our adult students to have the opportunity to perform without being put under too much pressure in front of a larger audience!) We then staged our show, 'Past, Present and Future' with performers from grade 1 and above on Sunday 7th July at the Broadway Theatre, Barking. A big thank you to all the parents for their support in all these ventures! In 2020, the re will be a whole school show on Sunday 12th July at the Playhouse Theatre, Harlow. We are also planning to have our next music concert in the Spring term 2020.
The 2019 Summer School from 29th July to 2nd August was hugely enjoyable and the children had loads of fun learning all sorts of dance styles plus musical theatre, singing and drama. The display for parents at the end of the week was very well received - the parents couldn't believe how much the children had learned in a few days! The dates for Summer School 2020 are Monday 27th to Friday 31st July.
Ballet, modern, tap and jazz exam sessions are held at our venues in the Autumn Term and Spring Term every year. The Summer Term is our 'show' term, but pupils may be entered for exams at the RAD or ISTD Headquarters. We are now pleased to also offer Street Dance exams.
We hold ABRSM exams at our South Woodford Music School 'Crescendo Music Academy' every term and LCM exam sessions each year. Students are also entered for Trinity and Rockschool exams at public centres.
We continue to work with our students who want to pursue a career in dance or music towards their chosen vocational school or music college/university (see profiles for some examples). We treat our children who prefer to learn 'just for fun' with equal importance and it's very rewarding to see them achieve and enjoy what they do!
We pride ourselves in the fact that many of our teaching staff have remained with us for a number of years. This shows their commitment and dedication to our pupils at Crescendo Music Academy and Variations Dance Studio. They are all highly professional and teach to a high standard with sensitivity and patience. We are very fortunate to have them!
Former Pupil Successes
Daniel Mulligan (Zurich Ballet Company soloist) and Sarah Kundi (English National Ballet) continue to have excellent classical ballet careers. Charlie Ames has been performing regularly since graduating from Italia Conti. Anna Barber, Jessica Thompson and Poppie Widger are heading into careers in musical theatre and other genres and Thomas McKeon into contemporary dance. Well done to all of them! It is also wonderful to see many former pupils going into dance and music teaching.
- pupil from 1991 to 1999. Daniel was accepted as a Junior Associate of the Royal Ballet School in 1996 aged 8 and attended on Saturday mornings. He was involved in many productions with the Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet Companies, including playing Fritz in the Nutcracker with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. He attained 94% Distinction, in his RAD Advanced 1 Ballet Exam in February 2004. In March 2004, he was a finalist in the Young British Dancer of the year and in April of the same year received a Commendation in the Phyllis Bedells Bursary. He was again a finalist in the Young British Dancer of the Year in March 2005 when he danced solos from La Sylphide, (James), and the Paquita Pas de Trois. In September 2006, after achieving distinction in the RAD Advanced 2 examination, Daniel competed in the Genée Awards - a prestigious annual ballet competition, which was held in Hong Kong. He reached the final twelve - one of only two British entrants to do so - and he received some very encouraging comments about his performances. Daniel was accepted for the Zurich Ballet - one of the world's top ballet companies - and started a contract there in August 2007. He has since toured in Germany, Austria, Italy, Egypt, Shanghai, Thailand, Singapore, Bogota, Mexico, Russia and Hong Kong and is dancing solo roles.
- pupil from 1994 to 2003 and 2005 to 2009. Liam was also accepted as a Junior Associate of the Royal Ballet School in 2001 aged 9 and attended on Saturday mornings. While at JA's he played an Attendant in Romeo and Juliet, an evil dwarf and page in Swan Lake both for the Royal Ballet. In 2003 aged 11, he was accepted at Elmhurst School for Dance (in association with the Birmingham Royal Ballet) but later auditioned successfully for the Mid Associates of the Royal Ballet School.
Liam is now a professional photographer and regularly shoots dance pictures. He relocated to Berlin in June 2017.
Charlie trained at Variations since childhood and then successfully auditioned for full-time training at Italia Conti Stage School. After appearing on the West End stage in 'Joseph' and then in the lead role in 'Oliver', Charlie was a body double for the main character in 'The Great Ghost Rescue' and an extra in Madonnas film 'W.E.'. After that Charlie starred in a solo Hyundai advert as part of a series of adverts and went on to appear in a Mattessons fridge raiders advert.
After completing three years at Italia Conti Academy of theatre arts, Charlie gained 9 GCSE's and had progressed immensely in dance. He auditioned for the three year diploma courses in performing arts at the Urdang Academy and Italia Conti and was accepted with scholarships for both. He decided to remain at Italia conti to further his education.
Charlie has also been featured in the BBC series 'School for Stars' - a documentary about the life of the students in the school.He has also appeared in Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and is in the films 'Pride & Prejudice' & 'Zombies'. Charlie has most recently been dancing professionally in shows at Disneyland Paris.
Anna has been a pupil at Variations since the age of two and has successfully auditioned for Italia Conti where she now trains as well as attending classes at Variations and assisting in the young children's classes.
Thomas has been a pupil at Variations since the age of three. Whilst at the school, he gained distinction for the RAD Intermediate ballet exam. At sixteen, and wanting to make a career in the contemporary scene, he successfully auditioned for the Northern School of Contemporary Dance to continue full-time training and started there in September 2013. Since graduating, Thomas has been dancing professionally and is also busy offering dance workshops.
- pupil from 1991 to 2001. Caroline was accepted for the Urdang Academy in 2001 aged 16 and graduated with her teaching qualifications in 2004. She then taught dance and singing at Variations from 2004 to 2007.
Renata Carvalho and Amanda Pegrum
were both accepted for a three year performing arts course at The Centre in South East London and started there in September 2006. They joined the dance teaching staff at Variations in January 2008. Renata was offered a contract as a dancer on a cruise ship and began this new challenge on March 1st 2009. Amanda bid farewell to Variations in August 09 to embark on a Bollywood dance career.
having completed her run in Billy Elliot - the musical', successfully auditioned for The Lion King at the Lyceum in the West End. She was also accepted on a half scholarship for the Sylvia Young Theatre School in Marylebone and started there in September 06.
pupil from 1993 to 1997. Scarlett was accepted at the Royal Ballet Lower School aged 11 and went on to further training at Elmhurst School and the Central School of Ballet.
Dinah was accepted for the Central School of Ballet's pre-16 associate course. She was then accepted for the Hammond School, Chester and given an aided place for entry in September 2007.
appeared in the London Chidren's Ballet performance of The Scarlet Pimpernel for a week in May 06. She also successfully auditioned for the Central School of Ballet's pre-16 Associate course and transferred her Saturday training from London Junior Ballet to Central. Sasha also attended the Royal Ballet School summer course two years running. In November 2006, she successfully auditioned for Elmhurst School for Dance in association with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. The director was so impressed with her that they asked her to join in January 2007 rather than waiting for the new academic year in September.
was accepted for the London Junior Ballet in September 2005 (aged 9). She was accepted for entry in September 2007 for Central School of Ballet's pre-16 Associate programme and transferred her Saturday training from London Junior Ballet to Central.
Ele successfully auditioned for the Urdang Academy and began a three year Musical Theatre Diploma course there in September 2007.
was accepted for London Junior Ballet and commenced Saturday classes there in September 2007.
Jessica has trained at Variations since a very early age gaining all her ballet, tap and jazz grades and medals exams and her ISTD Intermediate Tap exam with distinction.
In 2012 she was accepted at the London Theatre School for a year's foundation course and after that in 2013 she successfully auditioned for the Brit School and started there in September.
pupil from 2004 to 2014. Poppie auditioned successfully for the Brit School and commenced her training there in September 2014.