We provide students with a positive, qualified, artistic staff, many of whom have earned Fine Arts Degrees in their field. Our staff is trained to nurture and encourage the individual. Through process, presentation, and performance we teach our students to refine an eye for excellence. Through encouragement, mentoring, and team-building, our students gain confidence, friendships, and positive experiences.
As a child, Ms. Christa danced locally at Hopkins Dance and Carole Bradley Studios. She earned her BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota and has since danced at the Kennedy Center and performed on stages from Italy to India. Today she performs with the Eclectic Edge Ensemble as well as Joe Chvala and the Flying Foot Forum. She has also performed original choreography by Doug Varone, Shapiro and Smith, Zoe Sealy, Joe Chvala, Karis Sloss, Hannah Stillwell, Jolene Konkel, Willor Bluge, Karen Rivet, Leslie Daily, Carole Bradley, and Reginald Yates.
Christa is the Director of Minnetonka Community Ed Dance Program, Tonka DanceWorks. Her new adventure, CREO, is the result of a deep longing to collaborate with artists outside the medium of dance and to give artists a space to express their faith. Her approach to dance begins with the Vagonova Syllabus in ballet, and a Limon style of modern dance which focuses on breath and freedom of movement. With strength and breath in place all the rest comes naturally.
Christa is the creator and choreographer of original children’s ballets: Esther: For Such a Time As This, The Tales and Tails of Folks and Fairies , and A New Song. Her work, Enticed, was performed live by the Saint Paul City Ballet to George Mauer’s original score.
Christa has been teaching dance for 20 years at local schools including The Saint Paul City Ballet, Hopkins Dance, Prairie School of Dance, and Tonka DanceWorks. She has also choreographed extensively for Youth With a Mission. She choreographed for local show choirs International School of Minnesota, Mound Westonka Pop Singers, and Alabama based Simmons Middle School for 10 years. She has choreographed plays for Minnetonka High School, Crown College, and Southwest Christian, to name a few.
Natalie is Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance) Graduate of the University of Minnesota. She was a member of the 2007-2008 Minnesota Golden Gophers Dance Team. In 2008 she competed at nationals with the Gopher Dance Team. She recently returned to MN from New York to work for local dance company, Black Label Movement. This girl can leap and spin!!
Caitlin Scharpen Ballet/Jazz/Sacred/Tap/Tumbling
Caitlin began dancing with Chanhassen Dance & Performing Arts Center where she competed in various competitions across the country for 12 years. Focusing in tap and ballet, Caitlin has been choreographing competitive teams for the past 7 years. She has also been blessed with opportunities to learn from talented dancers such as SYTYCD choreographer Derick Grant, Broadway dancer Dianne Walker, and tapper Galen Higgins from Rhythm Circus. While Caitlin attended Virginia Commonwealth University for Woodworking, she never let go of her passions for dance and costume design. Therefore, she is proud to be considered a costumer with Creo Arts & Dance as well.
Betsy G. Nelson
Betsy’s dance training began as a child at Hopkins Dance Center and continued at St. Olaf College where she earned her BA in Exercise Science and Dance. At St. Olaf she performed in faculty, student, and guest artist works as a member of Companydance and spent a summer serving on an undergraduate research team in the dance department. When not teaching at CREO, Betsy can be found serving as a choreographer for the Jugheads in Edina, and enjoying the Minneapolis dance scene!
Julia graduated from St. Olaf College with a Bachelors in Dance and Psychology, two fields that she feels see people as whole beings. Her dance training began with thirteen years of ballet at the Neta Barker School of Ballet in her hometown of Wayland, Massachusetts, and continued with other forms of dance in college. Julia has performed choreography by Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater, Alexandra Bellar/Dances, and Jolene Konkel. She currently performs with the Gustavus alumni project, SEVEN DANCE. Julia has also had the pleasure of presenting research in dance education at the Minnesota Dance Education Summit and the National Dance Education Organization Conference. Julia is looking forward to another wonderful year teaching at CREO!
Karina Culloton loves performing, learning and creating with movers of all ages and abilities! She graduated with a BA and departmental distinction in dance from St. Olaf College in 2015, where she performed, choreographed, and worked on the tech crew, on the marketing team and as a teacher’s assistant. Karina has brought these multifaceted interests to the professional dance community, performing in the Spoleto Festival and the MN Fringe Festival, choreographing for Collectivus Dance Company, teaching, and working administratively for organizations including Zenon Dance Company and School and The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts. She hopes to continue living, dancing, teaching, creating, collaborating and learning in such a vibrant arts community for her whole life!
Lydia danced as a youth at Ballet Arts Minnesota and Minnesota Dance Theatre, and she continued her training at St. Olaf College. During her time as an undergraduate, she performed with St. Olaf Companydance and spent 6 months in Chile where she studied tango and ballet. Since graduating she has performed in companies such as Li Chiao-Ping Dance, a modern company based in Madison, WI, Curio Dance, led by Dario and Giselle Mejia, and Jolene Konkel Dance Collective. She currently dances with the Minneapolis-based modern dance company, Alternative Motion Project. For her, dance is joy, and thus it will be ever-present in her life.