Mark & Eileen Gillott - Studio Directors/Owners
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 - Executive Director & Art Teacher
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.
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 - Artistic Director & Drama Teacher
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 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!
Carlin Swift - Ballet & Predance
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 Dance
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 - Rec & Comp 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.
Yoshi Hisanga - Hip Hop/Breaking
Yoshi began his dancing career out as a b-boy, learning from a dancer from Cyborg G (Korea). He has performed and choreographed in numerous shows such as the annual S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Gala at GMPlace, countless various local shows, and many concerts for overseas singers. His classes include everything from popping, breaking, locking, house, pop, to street jazz. Yoshiʼs choreography specializes in a unique and abstract blend of hip-hop and break-dancing. He was the choreographer and dancer for the 2005 Senior Canadian National Dance Competition Champions, and the choreographer for the 2005, 2006, 2007 Junior Canadian National Dance Competition Champions. Yoshi is also a dancer in the group that won the Canadian Hip-hop Championships 2007, and represented Canada at the World Hip-hop Championships in the summer of 2007 in L.A and 2008 in Vegas.
Tosh Sutherland - Competitive Tap
Daina Wilkie - Acro, Aerial Hoop & Contortion
Daina Wilkie fell in love with the art of Acrobatics at the age of 5. She has been training and performing professionally for the past 5 years with Anne Lawton from Westcoast Contortion & Acrobatics. Before that, Daina trained with Aldeana Bawtenheimer, competing in numerous competitions throughout the lower mainland. Throughout her 16 years of training, Daina has had the opportunity to perform at the Global TV Christmas Party in 2009, the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Thomas Lynch’s 2013 Gold New Years Party, Black Hills Estate Winery for Jason Priestley, Z95.3’s 2014 Launch Party and many corporate banquets at various Ballrooms and Casino's. In the last 5 years Daina has performed in over 50 professional shows.
Daina has had the privilege to train over the past few years with some of the most well known circus performers from Las Vegas, Nevada such as Otgo Waller and Kristi Toguchi as well as Sante Fortunato from Vancouver, B.C. In 2009 Daina took her A.F.S.A (Acrobatic Federation of South Africa) Purple Examination and received an Honours with Distinction, and in 2011 and 2013 Daina passed all her C.D.T.A. Acrobatic Exams with Honours. Daina is now a certified A.F.S.A Associate 1 Teacher as of June 2013 and has also received her Module 1 Teachers Certificate through Acrobatic Arts on November 3rd 2013.
Daina has had the honor of teaching at many different locations throughout the lower mainland and looks forward to bringing all that she has learned throughout the years to the students at Creative Edge!
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