"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.
Mark and Eileen Gillott - Owners / Studio Directors
Creative Edge History:
We first opened our doors in 1991 at the “Abbotsquare Mall” right next to the old Salvation Army thrift shop. 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 we added art classes and within a year we had already grown to 135 students.
After our first year we moved to our current location in Clayburn Plaza to make room for this growth, and to make room for the addition of our new programs in dance and drama.
This new facility, was formerly a fitness centre, so it was perfect for dance, already having the raised sprung floors, and mirrors. Now our business became known as “Creative Edge Kids Centres”. Here “Scribbles” became an official licensed “child minding” which at that time we called “Creative Kids” and soon after became an official licensed preschool offered 5 days a week.
Since then, we have experienced unprecedented growth, with enrollments peaking at over 1100 students per month. In 2013 we outgrew our second location and moved to a larger space within the Plaza.
Creative Edge now offers fine arts programming 6 days a week for ages 1.5-Adult! We have 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; brand new aerial hoop, acrobatics and creative writing classes and, of course, our Fine Arts Preschool which started it all!
After over 25 years we are still proud to serve the Abbotsford community and will continue to do so for many years to come.
Stephanie Gillott - Art Teacher / 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 was also asked to instruct a series of art workshops at The University of Victoria for teen and adult students in an exchange program. "Miss Stephanie" teaches art with patience and an open mind and believes that art class should be just as fun as it is instructional.
Stephanie was happy to return to Creative Edge in 2012 to take over the Art program once again, and has since taken on a huge role in management, administration, social media and program co-ordination at the school.
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 twelve 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 is currently the music and drama teacher at King Traditional Elementary. 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 14 drama classes per week 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!
Catherine Potocky - RAD Ballet / ISTD Tap / ISTD Modern
AISTD (BB, MB,TB)
IDTA (A.Bt., A.MJ., A.T.)
Catherine received her professional training at SLP College in Leeds, England. After studying all areas of dance, along with singing, drama and Anatomy, Miss Catherine graduated with ISTD Associates in Ballet, Tap and Modern, and the National Diploma in Professional Dance/Musical Theatre.
Miss Catherine then went on to dance professionally, dancing for six years with Celebrity Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises, where she had the opportunity to work alongside many choreographers and producers from around the world.
She was also fortunate enough to be a part of the premier cast of “Destination Anywhere”, choreographed by West-End choreographer Karen Bruce. Miss Catherine has also performed in numerous television and theatre productions during her dance career.
Miss Catherine is also a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance.
Carlin Swift - Ballet Teacher
(Predance-Grade 6, Intermediate Foundations and Competitive 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. As well as being a mom to two beautiful children.
Mary-Anne Langstaff - Competitive and Recreational Dance Teacher (Jazz, Lyrical, Acro, Musical Theatre, Stage, Tap)
Mary-Anne has been living, loving and breathing dance for over 20 years! She has been teaching, choreographing, and inspiring for over 12 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 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. 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,
* 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.
* Won numerous Choreography awards.
* Directed Hannah Strongs choreography for International Pop Star "Victoria Duffield" 's 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.
* Lead Dancer for Dominator's Dance World Wide Entertainment.
Marissa Culpin - Recreational and Competitive Dance Teacher
(Modern, Jazz, Lyrical, Musical Theatre, Song and Dance, Acro, Hip Hop, Special Needs Dance)
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.
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 Mark and Eileen 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.
Elwin is a very passionate dancer, choreographer, instructor and mentor for The Creative Outlet formerly known as Dream Dance Studio based in Vancouver, BC.
He visited Norway for 3 years flying to train and assist with The Vibe International Dance Center where he had the honor of being on the hit show "Norway's Got Talent" performing as a contestant with "The Vibe Team".
Elwin's goal is to continue to grow, inspire and be inspired and share all his knowledge and experience with the next generation of dancers at Creative Edge.
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.
Choreographer for Team Canada's National Team 2014 for World Championships in Germany - 7 Time Canadian National Champion - Choreographer for Oregon Fierce All Stars 2014 USA National Champions , Orlando Florida - Owner of Street Kings Academy - Canada - 2012 Americas Best Dance Crew - 2010 Winter Olympics Choreography - 2008/2010 World Cup of Dance Champions Gold Medalists.
After winning scholarships and awards all around Canada and training with world-renowned choreographers from TV shows such as "So You Think You Can Dance". Ryan entered the professional dance world by auditioning for his first movie "Spectacular" with "Nickelodeon" and landing the job and ever since then he has always said "my dance life changed drastically right then and there". All of the hard work and severe dedication had paid off right then and there.
After Spectacular, Ryan has traveled the world training in cities such as Los Angeles and Toronto, meeting some amazing, talented people along the way, he has made connection with some "big names" in the industry, allowing him to bring those connections into dance studios and help students to aim their sights in the right direction if they wish to be a professional dancer/ entertainer!
Along with the movie "Spectacular", he has also had the opportunity to work on other TV/ Film productions such as "Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief", Disney's "CAMP ROCK 2", Nickelodeon's "Rags" and commercials and music videos for artists such as "Michael Buble", "Swollen Members" and "Big Time Rush". Ryan has also performed in large performances his entire life such as The "Pacific National Exhibition".
Kara began dancing at the young age of 3 years old in her hometown of Chilliwack.
In 2005 Kara became apart of the Canadian National Tap team and began training in order to compete in the World Dance Championships in Riesa, Germany. While abroad, her team competed against various countries from all over the world and won a gold medal, earning her a World Champion title.
Kara has traveled with Team Canada twice more to compete at the World level, both with formation lines, and duets, all placing within the top 10. Throughout the years she has performed for various events such as National Tap Dance Day, the Vancouver Tap Society festival, and most recently, the Young Artist Collective.
Kara has a real passion for teaching, and working with dancers of all ages. Kara is proud to have had past students who have earned a spot on the 2013 Canadian Team, and will themselves head to Germany to compete. She loves helping young dancers discover their passion for dance.
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!
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).
Guest Instrutor: GINA JANUS-SPEDDING (Modern/Fijian Dance)
Gina is a Canadian choreographer, dance instructor and dancer from Vancouver, BC. She has been trained in contemporary, jazz, tap, modern, ballet and hip-hop in Canada, America, New Zealand and now Fiji. She is a graduate from Grant MacEwan Universities Dance Program graduating with honours and bursaries. She has also received the Grade 8 Ballet award in the Royal Academy of Dance Syllabus.
Gina has choreographed works for prestigious festivals around the world including Canada’s Calgary Dance Explosions, Dance at Noon and Dance at Night. In New Zealand she was honoured to have her work accepted into Tempo Dance Festival for the Fresh Cuts programme and Tertiary Colours. Her work was also accepted into Fringe Festivals, Bang Bang Caravel. Gina was the Director of her company in New Zealand known as FUZE DANZE that showcased their first successful production in 2010 collaborating with Rhythm Interactive as well as Side Project. She has danced and trained with many established and emerging choreographers around the globe such as Peggy Baker, Brian Webb, Davida Monk, Michael Parmenter, Jenny De Leon, Annalisa Bentzen-Whittle, Andre Fuentes, Tai Royal to name a few.
She started teaching at the young age of 16 and has since free-lanced instructed in NZ, Canada and is now teaching for VOU Fiji. She is very excited and honoured to belong with VOU now as their school manager and also training and choreographing on the core company members.
In Summer 2014 Gina and her group VOU, who were touring Canada at the time, came to Creative Edge for a workshop. Our dancers immediately fell so in love with the uplifiting, fun and storytelling choreography that we asked VOU to return the following week to choreograph our Senior Modern routine for the upcoming season of dance.