"We love Creative Edge! All of the teachers and assistants are very pleasant, upbeat and attentive. The positive environment is a perfect place for the children to learn, play and dance. We attribute our daughter's and son's enthusiasm for education, art, dance and theatre to all the teachers at Creative Edge. Thank you!" - Erika C.
"Fantastic for kids. Family run and they really care about your children." -Stephanie S.
Mark and Eileen Gillott - Studio Founders/Owners
Mark and Eileen first opened our doors in 1991 at the “Abbotsquare Mall." Eileen had been teaching a parent/tot program, known as “Scribbles” for the Abbotsford Rec commission. Initially, she taught at the Abbotsford Ag Rec Centre and later the McCallum Activity Centre, but realized a more permanent space was needed to continue to run this program. So “Abbotsquare” was the answer. Back then, the school was known as “Creative Edge Music & Activity Place." To make the best use of the space there, Eileen ran “Scribbles” in the day while Mark, who has a degree in music education, began offering afternoon music lessons. Soon afterward they added art classes and within a year had already grown to 135 students. After the first year they moved into the Clayburn Centre to make room for this growth, and the addition of new programs in dance and drama.
In the new facility they became known as “Creative Edge Kids Centre”. Here “Scribbles” became an official licensed “child minding” and soon after became an official licensed preschool offered 5 days a week. Since then, Creative Edge have experienced unprecedented growth, with enrollments peaking at over 1500 registrations. In 2013 they welcomed Andrew, Mark and Eileen's younger son, and his wife Stephanie, home from University in Victoria and they began teaching and helping with the everyday operations of the studio. Around this time Creative Edge also outgrew the second location and moved to a larger space within the Plaza, where they are today.
Creative Edge now offers fine arts programming 6 days a week for ages 1-Adult! It has the largest youth Theatre program in Abbotsford; an incredible recreational and competitive dance program with award winning dancers, teachers and choreography; an ever-growing Visual Arts program; a huge selection of group and private music classes; aerial hoop, acrobatics and creative writing classes and, of course, the Fine Arts Preschool which started it all!
In December 2016 Mark passed away. He would be very proud of how the studio has continued to grow and uphold the standard of excellence and family values that he strove for in the 25 years he devoted to Creative Edge.
After nearly 30 years Creative Edge is still proud to serve the Abbotsford community and will continue to do so for many years to come.
Stephanie Gillott - Executive Director
Stephanie completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree, with distinction, from the University of Victoria in 2012. During her time at UVic she studied Drawing, Painting, Photography, Video, Sculpture, Art History, Art Education and Psychology, with a focus on child development.
Stephanie taught art at Creative Edge from 2005 to 2008, before going away to school on Vancouver Island. While living in Victoria, Stephanie instructed adults and children at The Paint Box School of Art in Mixed Media, Water Colour and Acrylic Painting, Drawing, Sewing and Clay Sculpture classes and several fun camps and workshops. She also instructed art workshops at The University of Victoria for teen and adult students in an exchange program. Stephanie was happy to return to Creative Edge in 2012 to take over the Art program once again.
Stephanie has since passed on the art program to two wonderful new teachers in favour of taking on a huge role in management at the school. Stephanie loves hiring and coordinating our amazing teachers, scheduling our many programs, planning exciting new classes, getting our performers involved in community events and writing endless e-mail. Her favourite part of working as a studio director is watching our students perform and helping parents find the perfect class(es) for their kids.
Andrew Gillott - Drama Teacher / Artistic Director
Andrew holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre as well as a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Victoria. He has fourteen years of experience teaching drama and music to students ages 3 to adult. He is also the recipient of the 2016 Abbotsford Arty Award for Outstanding Theatre Artist.
Andrew has a strong background in live theatre as an actor, writer and director including acting in a leading role in the Victoria Shakespeare Festival and writing and directing a play for the Victoria Fringe Kids Fest. Over the past 20 years, Andrew has been involved in nearly every year-end production at Creative Edge!
As a BC Certified Teacher, Andrew also has experience in K-7 public school classrooms. He currently teaches drama for the Abbotsford School District. He is a patient, outgoing and creative teacher, who brings energy, enthusiasm and artistic knowledge to his drama classes.
As the drama program co-ordinator and teacher, Andrew instructs weekly drama classes and organizes and directs 4 major productions a year, plus several in-class performances. As the Artistic Director, Andrew plays a key role in conceiving the idea for, producing, directing and running our huge Year End Show, our Mainstage productions and more!
Mary-Anne Langstaff - Competitive and Recreational Dance
(Jazz, Lyrical, Stage and Contemporary/Modern Specialist)
Mary-Anne has been living, loving and breathing dance for over 26 years! She has been teaching, choreographing, and inspiring for over 13 years. She has studied the art of Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Tap, Hiphop, Stage, Show, and Acro.
She has many credits as a Dancer and has won numerous awards for her Choreography. Many of her students have gone onto professional careers, in both stage and television, competed Internationally and on the World stage, and some are now teachers and choreographers themselves.
Her passion and genuine love for dance and people is what makes her such an in demand, and beloved teacher, choreographer and adjudicator. She believes everyone has "something" special to bring to dance. She loves helping people realize, find, and develop that strength. While at the same time always pushing her students out of their comfort zone, and encouraging them to improve their weakness, to become a well rounded dancer!
Some of her credits include,
* Adjudicator for Sizzle Dance Festival in Alberta, B.C.
* Adjudicator for the Chiefs Dance Team.
* Adjudicator for Miss Teenage Canada.
* Dancer with Carnival Cruise Lines.
* Lead dancer in the 2010 Olympic Ceremonies alongside Michael Buble!
*Former member of the “Felions” dance team for the CFL's "BC Lions".
* Lead dancer in the music video "Lula" by 16mm that was debuted on Much Music.
* Has competed and won numerous times Internationally.
* Received numerous Choreography awards.
* Directed Hannah Strongs choreography for Pop Star "Victoria Duffield" music video.
* Lead Dancer in "Shout"
* Show Dancer in "Here's Hollywood", both above were cast by Simon Griffiths
* Lead Dancer in The Miss Canada Teen Global Pageant '04, and a Top 10 finalist in The Miss Canada Teen Global Pageant '05
*Dancer in the BC Summer Games
* Regional Winner and competitor in the World Finals Las Vegas Tropic Beauty (formally known as Hawaiian Tropic)
* Promotional, commercial, and runway model for Vancouver Fashion Week.
* Model for the Juno awards
* Dancer /promotions model for Voltage Entertainment and Valley Entertainment.
* Lead Dancer for Dominator's Dance World Wide Entertainment.
Carlin Swift - Ballet
Miss Carlin began studying ballet at the age of three as a student of both the ISTD and RAD programs. During her 15 years of training, she completed exams with the ISTD, studying to the Grade 6 level, then trained with the RAD up to the vocational level of Elementary (now Intermediate). In addition to ballet, Carlin studied for several years in lyrical and tap.
Under Denise Lafourtune’s instruction Carlin trained to be the teacher she is today. She has been teaching and fostering a love for Ballet in the community since 2003, specializing in Pre-school dance to Grade One RAD ballet syllabus. She also teaches classes up to an intermediate foundation RAD level.
Miss Carlin’s Preschool dance program fosters a lifelong love of dance through the introduction of the fundamentals of ballet movement, musicality and creative movement. In a nurturing and fun-filled environment, students are able to explore creativity while building the framework for physical development as a dancer.
Miss Carlin holds a Liberal Arts Diploma, Bachelor of Arts, and a Substance Abuse Counselling Certificate. She is also working towards a degree in Elementary Education and is a mom to two beautiful children.
Judi Ryan Kellett - R.A.D. Ballet
Judi began dancing at the age of 3 and has been a well known presence in the Abbotsford Ballet community. She studied R.A.D ballet and completed all the graded and vocational levels. Judi had the privilege of training with an R.A.D examiner for 5 years and went to the Banff Summer School where she was accepted into The National Ballet School's 5 week summer programme.
Judi became a fully certified R.A.D instructor in 1987 and has been molding young minds with her expertise ever since.
Along with her extensive training in Ballet, Judi also has a diploma in Anatomy and in History of Dance.
Over the years she has entered many students into competitions and exams and has seen many of her students become professional dancers.
Judi is a member of the Royal Academy of Dance as a Mentor to Student Teachers entering the Teacher Training Programme. Judi is loving her second year teaching at Creative Edge and is excited to continue to watch the program grow in the years to come.
Carmen is a Hip Hop and Acro teacher. Carmen started dance at the age of 3 and fell in love. As Carmen got older she continued her passion and took classes in Ballet, Pointe, Contemporary, Jazz, Modern, Tap, Hip Hop, Acro, and Song and Dance. She was a competitive dancer for about 9 years and travelled around the lower mainland for most competitions. Representing Canada in the Hip Hop world’s competition was a highlight. She also passed a number of her AIDT jazz tech exams before graduating and leaving for University. Through-out her years of dance she would help her teachers with the younger kid’s classes to gain teaching experience as well as help pay for her own classes.
When Carmen returned from university she started teaching Hip Hop and Acro at various studio’s and rec centers. It was also at this time that Carmen started training Hand to Hand with her partner Jason. They dedicated a lot of time and hard work into training and soon enough were preforming professionally. These gigs included corporate events, weddings, birthdays, city events and commercials. They have had the opportunity to train with Cirque Du Solei performers as well as travelling to Montréal to broaden their Circus knowledge and abilities.
Carmen’s passion for dance and circus is always growing and there is nothing she loves more than to share that passion. She believes in hard work, commitment, and most of all having fun.
Tia begin dancing at the young age of three. She trained in many styles of dance including jazz, tap, lyrical, ballet, and hip hop. At the age of ten, Tia was presented with the amazing opportunity to take tap lessons under Bonnie-Jean Anderson. Tap dancing immediately became her most intense passion. People were extremely impressed to see someone begin to specialize in a dance style at such a young age!
Tia quickly immersed herself in all things related to tap dancing and took as many classes as possible pertaining to her interest. It was typical for her to spend numerous hours per week working on just one genre of dance. Almost every year Tia was a member of at least two different tap routines, attended extra technique classes, and also learned a variety of solos, duos, and trios over her dancing career.
Tia was provided with yet another amazing opportunity to become a member of the Canadian Tap Dancing Team and travelled to Reisa, Germany two years in a row to represent Canada. There she performed multiple routines, including small and large formations and a tap trio. She and her amazing team were able to bring back an impressive amount of titles, including two silver medals, one bronze medal, and a sixth place. The groups Tia was a member of competed against many different countries, some categories totalling up to 40 different routines. Tia is now happy to be a Tap instructor and to share her knowledge, experience and love of the genre with her students!
Lineke started out with a foundation in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical, Tap, Theatre and then went on to primarily Hip Hop. As a dance performer, choreographer and instructor of over ten years, Lineke has a well-developed teaching style and exudes an unmatched passion for sharing her joy of the art form. Drawing from inspiration both outside of and within the dance community, she continues to give back by sharing her creativity and infectious positive energy with those around her. As an adult, Lineke experienced a deep renewal of her love for dance in the form of Breaking. Through Bboying, she discovered a brand new vehicle for true self-expression that literally turned her perspective on dance upside down! This has led to an enthusiastic desire to continue to pursue her passion through performing, choreographing and teaching.
Lineke has recently given back to her community with her work as Choreography Director for the BC Summer Games. In 2016 she received the Arty Award for Outstanding Performing Artist in Dance!
Wakana began as a gymnast at the age of 7 and quickly learned that she loved the sport. She spent over 10 years polishing her skills as a gymnast. Through hard work and patience, she was able to graduate high school with honors and enter the Tokyo Womens College of Physical Education where she graduated with a degree and a teaching license in Physical Education for middle school and high school.
She continued her passion for the sport of gymnastics by honing her skills as a coach. She coached many different levels of gymnastics at one of Japans top gymnastics clubs. She learned from many high-level coaches and enjoyed passing her knowledge to her athletes. With her love for the sport she continues to share her experience in the world of dance. Being able to teach tumbling and watch it merge with the movement of dance has always been fascinating. She loves to create a safe and supportive environment for her students and hopes to do so for years to come.
Since the age of 3, Brittany has been training and performing in many styles of dance. While continuing to grow as a dancer, she began teaching various styles including Acro, Jazz and Ballet and attending the accelerated post secondary Industry Dance Training Program of Vancouver.
She has since had the privilege to work for Carnival Cruise Lines, and Princess Cruise Lines where she had the opportunity to work with various choreographers and teachers from around the world. She is particularly proud to have been a part of the premier team for Stephen Shwartz's “Born to Dance”. Brittany is excited to pass on her knowledge to our up and coming performers!
Sam has been dancing since the age of 3. She began competing at age 6 and danced competitively for a total of 11 years. Sam started her teaching career subbing dance classes at Creative Edge in 2015 and has since taken on her own shift of Tap and Musical Theatre classes. Sam has also choreographed numerous successful solo and duo routines in Tap and Musical Theatre genres, even earning choreography awards for her work.
In 2015, Sam had the amazing opportunity to compete with Team Canada Tap! She was accepted onto the a large group Jr team and invited to the special small group team as well. Her teams competed in Reisa, Germany at the IDO World Championships and took home a 3rd place bronze medal, as well as 6th place!
Sam has been trained in Tap, Musical Theatre, Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Song & Dance and Stage with many different teachers and choreographers around the lower mainland. Sam has participated in several workshops in many different genres. All of her experiences have contributed to her growth as a dancer and teacher. Sam is a hard working dancer and instructor who will always strive to help her students improve their technique and grow their love of dance!
Marissa Culpin - Recreational & Competitive Dance (Maternity Leave for 2018/2019)
Marissa began dancing at the age of 4 and quickly discovered her love for dance. She went on to train in Cecchetti, RAD, and Vaganova Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Lyrical, Acro, Modern, Contemporary, and Hip Hop.
As a teacher, Marissa has extensive experience, having taught all over the lower mainland at dance studios, high schools, elementary schools, and fine arts schools. Marissa has many credits as a performer, and her choreography has won a number of high score and special awards. Many of Marissa's students have gone on to exciting careers in dance and film. Marissa has choreographed pieces for a number of community groups and events, including the White Rock Youth Ambassadors, and the Canada Winter Games.
Marissa has danced with a number of professional dance companies. She also danced for the BC Lions for 6 years, and was captain during the last 4 of those years. She has danced on television during the Canadian Country Music Awards, With Michael Buble at the 2010 Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics, onstage for Aaron Pritchett and Gord Bamford for televised events, in film featuring David Hasselhoff, and on the CW's hit show, "Hellcats".
Marissa has trained all over the world, including Broadway Dance Centre in New York, Harbour Dance Centre in Vancouver, and Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles.
Marissa believes that expression through art and dance is such a wonderful outlet, and loves to help everyone she works with find their greatest potential. Marissa's passion for dance is undeniable, and she hopes to continue sharing that enthusiasm with her students for many years to come.
See above for Bio
Bryan received is first guitar at the age of three. By the age of four he had learned well the few chords his dad had taught him and was able to play the song "I've Been Working on the Railroad" from start to finish. That same year--1991--Bryan used this song to audition for music lessons at what was then a new music school called Creative Edge.
His first large performance was at the age of five, strumming and singing the song "Achy Breaky Heart" in front of 600 people at Creative Edge's year end recital, and still looks back on the experience as a defining moment in his career.
Bryan then spent many years, from age six to fifteen, honing his craft, performing shows, studying, and writing music. It was at the age of fifteen that he won first place in the 2002 PNE's Star Discovery, performing his own composition. First place bought him a ticket to the nationals and a prize of $3000. The money went to a new amp and studio time to record his first EP: "Twisted Fate". Twisted Fate ended up being the record that got the attention of Her Royal Majesty's Records; a record label whose star artist was Bif Naked with whom Bryan worked closely to develop as an artist.
Bryan created the band "The Heck", which released its first self-titled record in 2005 and performed at events alongside notable artists such as Hedley, ZZ Top, Sum 41, Colin James, Evanescence, Glass Tiger, Fabre Drive, The Trews, Wide Mouth Mason, and Aaron Prichet. In the summer of 2009, he added the finishing touches to his second record released internationally by Bodog Music.
Since then he's been happily composing music for film, teaching music, producing records for local musicians, and writing songs for Canadian artists across the country. Bryan has also toured extensively both across Canada and the United States.
Bryan considers it an honor to work with Creative Edge again and give back to the community and institution which played an inexorable roll in his success. He approaches all his students from a place of passion and looks to cultivate a deep love and appreciation for music.
Aaron Mokry's love for music started at a young age playing trombone in school, and when he picked up the guitar at 14 his interest quickly turned into a passion. He's been playing professionally for the past 6 years in numerous bands, most notably blues-rock trio The Burn Ins, who with Aaron have released 2 albums, won several awards, and toured all over North America and even Japan! Their latest EP titled "Start a Fire" showcases Aaron's fiery lead work and tasty riffage that he's become known for. With a heart for teaching, he's looking to instill the same passion for music that he has into young and old alike!
Adrian has 25 years of experience as a guitar player, including 8 years of private instruction with Carl Kory, Jim Blair and Mitch Merrett. His roots and influences have been various forms of intricate rock music, but he also loves to play and teach other genres including metal, funk, pop, blues, gospel and country. He plays with a variety of bands both live and for studio recordings.
When teaching, Adrian’s main focus is to help every student reach their own unique goals, which is why he tailors each student’s lessons according to their personal wants and needs.
Bio to come!
Caitlin has been singing and playing piano for as long as she can remember. She took piano lessons for 12 years under RCM curriculum, completing multiple examinations in performance and theory. Caitlin taught piano to a variety of ages and stages from 2004-2009, taking a break to go to university.
She has significant experience as a vocalist with over 10 years of lessons, including at the university level. She sang in children’s choir, church choir and a semi-professional francophone choir, with which she performed on multiple recordings and CD productions. She competed in various festivals in solo vocal performances, musical theatre and piano and even went to the provincial level in musical theatre.
Fun fact: Caitlin holds a bilingual Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Math. When she’s not teaching music, she is taking care of her two beautiful children.
Tosh Sutherland is a Vancouver based tap dancer and actor. He began his training with Bonnie-Jean Anderson and has since had the opportunity to train under various tap dance instructors from all over North America. Most notably, he attended the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival under the direction of Dianne Walker with guest artists Derick Grant, Lisa La Touche, Brenda Buffalino and Lane Alexande
Tosh has been teaching and sharing all he has learned for almost a decade to all ages from 4 to 70. Recent performing credits include Danny Nielsen’s show ‘Love.Be.Best.Free” and ‘The Music Man’ with Gateway Theatre. By utilizing his previous experience and training in several arts disciplines, he brings a sense of curiousity and exploration into his teaching methods. He is very excited to be a part of the Vancouver Tap Dance Society faculty
Danielle Gardner is an established dancer, award winning choreographer and mentor to youth, currently residing in Vancouver BC. Bringing her love of physical art to the forefront, she has dedicated her life to teaching young minds to unleash their creativity.
She originally became a recognizable figure in dance as a contestant on CTV's SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE CANADA Season 3, where she placed in the top 3 girls. Her experience on the TV show was a stepping-stone to her career and shaped her into the entrepreneur she is today.
Danielle has worked with top entertainment companies Matel, CTV, ABC and Disney in TV and Film projects over the past decade. She has most recently been featured along side Flash Dance's Jennifer Beals and All Star dancer Robert Roldan playing the character (Meaghan) on the hit show “MOTIVE". Past credits: Shadow State, Romantic Child, Iredescence, Centre Stage,Toy story (Voice Actor) and Lilo & Stitch (Voice Actor).
She has travelled throughout Canada the United States, South Asia, Europe and Panama City teaching & choreographing for working companies and professionals of all ages. Danielle was the Head Choreographer of Team Canada West starting 2011-2017. Danielle being a former World Championship Winner in Oslo, Norway made her the perfect candidate for this roll. She has taken over 800 kids to Frankfurt Germany and Poland to compete at the IDO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS where they won the World Championship title multiple times. Danielle is currently working along side World Performers Canada as the West Coast Contemporary & Jazz choreographer.
If that wasn’t enough Danielle is also the Creative Director of West Coast Choreo Lab for Emerging Artists, a program she holds very near and dear to her heart.
From Iran, Navid moved with his family to Canada where he was introduced to the diverse dance industry. He quickly fell in love and began training in hip hop, popping, boogaloo, jazz, locking, house and RnB dance. He has been noticed for his polite manner, his determination, his drive to become a better dancer, and last but not least, his silly personality.
Navid found himself involved with the notable PraiseTEAM studio recognized for their training in jazz, contemporary and ballet technique, as well as their strong hip hop background as seen in their silver-place win in the MegaCrew category at the World Hip Hop International competition in Las Vegas.
Favourite credits include the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony, Project Soul, KTL Company, We Day Vancouver, Nickelodeon’s movie Jinxed, music videos for Ka.lil, Starlight, and Brooke Turner, and the Disney movie directed by Kenny Ortega- Descendants.
Reid began training with Philip Fuller in Los Angeles at the age of 8. As a student at the Idyllwild Arts Academy, he attended summer sessions on scholarship with ABT, San Francisco Ballet and the Royal Ballet.
He received a scholarship to the Post-Secondary Program of Canada’s National Ballet School, where he studied with Lindsay Fischer. While there he represented NBS in an international showcase, dancing Rudi van Dantzig’s ‘Third Song’ at the Stuttgart Ballet.
Upon graduating from the Post-Secondary Dance Program Reid joined Ballet West and performed ballets such as Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, and Balanchine’s ‘Stars and Stripes’. In 2008 Reid joined The Orlando Ballet and danced roles in Fernando Bujones’ ‘Don Quixote’, ‘Bolero’, and Robert Hill’s ‘Le Corsaire’.
VOU was founded in 2007 primarily as a contemporary pacific dance company, since its inception VOU has spread it creative wings and branched out into the fields of Music, Fashion and Film with their sound, style and scenes being seen far and wide.
VOU is an explosive and vibrant Pacific experience that transports you to our island paradise rich in ancient stories, tradition and culture.
Through the medium of live music and dance, VOU (meaning new in Fijian), is the blending of old and new, traditional and contemporary.
VOU consists of an incredible group of artsists including: Sachiko Miller, Edward Soro, Mereia Tuiloma, Eleni Tabua, Navitalai Fong, Ratu Rusiate Rokilibau, Ratu Rusiate Rokilibau and Gina Janus-Spedding (see below).