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.
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.
"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.
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!
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.
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 has also recently completed her BC Teacher Certification and is now a registered BC Teacher working within the Abbotsford School District!
Mary-Anne Stephens (Langstaff) - Competitive and Recreational Dance
(Jazz, Lyrical, Stage and Contemporary/Modern Specialist)
Mary-Anne has been living, loving and breathing dance for nearly 3 decades! She has been teaching, choreographing, and inspiring for over 15 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
*Dancer in the BC Summer Games
* Model for the Juno awards
* Dancer for Voltage Entertainment and Valley Entertainment.
* Lead Dancer for Dominator's Dance World Wide Entertainment.
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!
Miss Kirsty began her dance life at the age of 3 with Scottish Highland Dance then adding Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Modern, Hip Hop and Musical Theatre. She performed Nationally and Internationally before beginning her career as a Dance Instructor. Kirsty has taught generations of dancers in the Lower Mainland for the past 25 years with many of her students going on to be dance professionals. She has won many Choreography awards over the years and is a registered member of the Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance.
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.
Sam has been dancing since the age of 3. She began competing at age 6 and danced competitively for a total of 12 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!
Bio to come!
Creative Edge is so happy to welcome Casey to our faculty this year! Born in Vancouver, British Columbia and raised in North Delta, Casey has been training locally throughout her lifetime. Casey grew up in a competitive dance environment and received numerous awards and scholarships during that time. Casey began assistant teaching at the age of 14 and choreographing at the age of 15. She has since gained several years of teaching experience.
Casey has a varied background in hip hop, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, ballet and stage and has trained in Vancouver and Los Angeles. Casey is passionate about dance and teaching students of all ages, from toddler to adult! Her lively spirit and determination helps students reach their full potential as dancers.
Casey has been part of the dance industry since she graduated high school. She has worked as a dancer for tv series and music videos including dancing as a background dancer for “The Magicians." Casey has built connections in the international film industry choreographing and dancing with artists such as “Har Sandhu” and “Miss Pooja”. She has worked with “Danielle Cohn” for her music video as a dancer in Los Angeles as well.
In addition, Casey is currently a 3rd year student at Douglas College studying in their Bachelors of Coaching and Physical Education Program: Concentration in Kinesiology. She has attained a vast knowledge of human anatomy and physiology as it pertains to human movement. She has assisted with physiotherapy and has begun researching children’s physical movement. This gives her the knowledge as a dance teacher to help students understand their body and safely execute dance movements.
It is Casey’s desire to teach and pass on the knowledge she has attained. Her goal for her students is that they learn to perform to the the best of their ability while having fun and enjoying dance!
We are happy to welcome Miss Tannah to our teaching team as of Sept 2020! Tannah has been immersed in the world of dance since the age of three. She has studied RAD, Vaganova, and Cecchetti ballet as well as ISTD tap and modern. Tannah is also trained in hip hop, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre, and acro. Through the course of her ballet training Tannah completed all Royal Academy of Dance graded and vocational ballet levels, completing all graded examinations with great success. Tannah spent two summers at the Alberta School of Ballet intensives and also attended a Vancouver Ballet Society spring seminar. Miss Tannah always dreamed of becoming a dance teacher and passing on her knowledge of dance to eager students and last year that dream became a reality when she was hired to plan and instruct children’s ballet classes and her local recreation centre. Tannah had a ton of fun with her students and gained valuable teaching experience. With the training and mentorship of her past teacher (current RAD teacher at Creative Edge) Miss Judi, Tannah is prepared to teach at Creative Edge to inspire and train future ballet dancers!
See top of page for Bio
As a child and teenager Gabrielle competed regularly in Abbotsford and
Chilliwack piano festivals, often taking first place. Gabrielle
completed her Grade 10 RCM piano exam in 2000, scoring first class
honours with distinction. She is currently studying to take her ARCT
while raising her 5 children. She studied under Bernard Duerksen.
For Gabrielle music is both extremely serious and profoundly joyful.
In her teaching Gabrielle leans towards a classical approach, but she
is flexible and happy to adjust her teaching methodology to suit each
individual student. Gabrielle loves working with advanced students
(e.g., Grade 5 RCM and higher), but she also enjoys setting a strong
foundation for newcomers to piano. Successful students with Gabrielle
strengthen their piano technique through daily practice, and also
deepen their love and appreciation for all music.
When not playing or teaching, Gabrielle enjoys long walks and spending
time with her rabbits, cats, chickens, and guinea pigs. She would like
to one day acquire some sheep and alpacas.
We are thrilled to welcome Natalie to our faculty this year! Natalie began singing and teaching herself piano at the age of eight, and when she was about fourteen she began teaching herself guitar. At seventeen Natalie started performing at parties, jams and open mic nights. During this time she was very encouraged by her audience to pursue music.
In high school Natalie co-starred in two musical theatre productions and was also enrolled in choir, vocal studies and guitar. After graduating she gained experience leading a worship band for 2 years.
She has also worked as a camp leader several times and has taught Sunday School for a number of years, giving her plenty of experience with young children.
Natalie was recently sponsored by the Fraser Valley Blues Society to represent BC in the 2019 International Blues Challenge held in Memphis Tennessee. She performed over ten shows throughout the week at various clubs on Beale Street.
Now she has earned a certificate of General Music Studies from Berklee College Of Music Online taking courses in Advanced Blues Guitar, Jazz Guitar, Theory and Vocal Technique.
Her goals as a teacher are to go above and beyond for her students, to observe what interests them and lead them to inspiring material. She wants each student to reach their full potential and to have fun doing so.
Sarah Whitehead - Preschool Teacher and Maternity Leave Preschool Manager
Miss Sarah is a new addition to our Preschool Family, although you may have seen her friendly face around the studio over the years. Miss Sarah is a dance Mom of two daughters who enjoy classes at Creative Edge.
Sarah graduated from the University of the Fraser Valley and has her Early Childhood Educator Certificate and Community Care First Aid. After working in Japan as a Preschool English Teacher, Sarah knew that her passion was working with Children. Miss Sarah has worked in home daycare for the last 9 years. After being a stay at home Mom, Miss Sarah is excited to return to a career she loves teaching Preschool.
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
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’.
"Great space. Very clean. The staff is beyond amazing. Great family atmosphere. Teachers are incredible."
"Great local family run arts school! Highly recommend this place!"