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.
Christa Anderson-Hill has been teaching dance for 25 + years. For 12 years Christa was the Director of Tonka DanceWorks in Minnetonka. In fall of 2018 Christa merged her two programs Tonka DanceWorks and CREO into one. 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 earned her BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota. She has danced at the Kennedy Center and performed on stages from Italy to India. She was a member ofthe Eclectic Edge Ensemble as well as Joe Chvala and the Flying Foot Forum and ToBakni. She studied and taught through Youth With A Mission in Lakeside Montana. 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 creator and choreographer of original children’s ballets: The Companion: The Story of Ruth and Naomi, Esther: For Such a Time As This, The Tales and Tails of Folks and Fairies, The Nativity Ballet, and A New Song. Her work, Enticed, was performed live by the Saint Paul City Ballet to George Mauer’s original score. Currently she choreographs for the Living Word Christmas Show and for many area musicals.
Hannah Benditt graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance earning her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography with a dual emphasis in Ballet and Modern. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Hannah began dancing at Minnesota Dance Theatre (formerly Ballet Arts Minnesota). As a student Hannah trained at American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Washington Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Milwaukee Ballet summer intensives. Upon graduating from UMKC, Hannah joined Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company in St. Louis, MO where she performed works by numerous choreographers including Jessica Lang and Uri Sands. She also performed with Consuming Kinetics Dance Company, Kansas City Ballet and independent artists throughout Missouri.
In 2015, Hannah moved back to the Twin Cities to dance with St. Paul Ballet. Now Hannah is a freelance dancer working most recently with Minnesota Opera, An Opera Theatre, HatchDance, HoneyWorks and numerous choreographers in the Twin Cities. While performing, Hannah enjoys sharing her love of dance by teaching and choreographing throughout the Twin Cities. She is an ABT Certified Teacher in Pre Primary through Level 3 of the ABT National Training Curriculum and is also certified in Progressing Ballet Technique.
Kiana Carlson Barkalow
Originally from Cedar Rapids, IA, Kiana moved to Minneapolis during the spring of 2017. After settling in, Kiana has taught at multiple studios, including Larkin Dance Studio, Velocity Dance and Theatre, Katie Lien’s School of Dance and Deanne’s Dance Studio. She has also choreographed shows at multiple theatres in the area such as Music Man(Westonka Community Theatre), Sound of Music(Southwest Christian High School), and Scrooge!(Chaska Valley Family Theater). Since the age of four, dance has been a huge part of Kiana’s life. She received training in jazz, contemporary, musical theatre, hip hop, alog with private instruction in tap from Sean Kaminski and ballet training from Edith Barragan (former ballerina in the Royal Ballet of Wallonie in Charleroi, Belgium). Kiana has continued her training by dancing at studios such as Broadway Dance Center (NYC), Dance Connection (Palo Alto, CA), Synergy Dance (Colorado Springs, CO) and by attending dance master classes with artists such as Travis Wall, Savion Glover, Greg Russell, Helen Phillips, Kenny Wormald, and Stacey Tookey. Kiana also performed in both the Moscow Ballet & Quad City Ballets Nutcracker, which are a few of her most memorable dance experiences. She hopes to share her passion for dance with everyone who crosses her path. She believes that dance can always be a part of a person’s life no matter what dreams he or she pursues. When Kiana isn’t dancing, she loves spending time camping, hiking, exploring MN, and enjoying life with her amazing husband.
Kelsey Charlotte is a choreographer and mover based in Minneapolis. She graduated with a BA in Dance from Gustavus Adolphus College. During her time at Gustavus her work was recognized by The American College Dance Festival in 2012 for her solo choreography as well as performing in the 2014 ACDFA Gala.
Kelsey attended Accademia del’ Arte in Arezzo, Italia in 2013 where she studied under Giorgio Rossi, Rita Petrone, Ashai Lombardo, and Mark Allen, and other artists in Italy and Germany. She is now an undergraduate recruiter for the dance program. Other notable work has included Stephen Koplowitz, D.I.G. (Dancers Investigation Group) Sacramento, CA, SEVEN DANCE which she co-founded in 2014, and Children’s Theater Company. Her teaching background includes ABT ballet teacher certification, Northland School of Dance, Genesis Dance Company, Zenon Youth Program, Prairie School of Dance and recently, Ashland Productions. Kelsey currently dances for STRONG Movement, Jagged Moves, and Christopher Watson Dance Company. Kelsey is looking forward to this year with CREO Arts & Dance.
At the age of 5, Elyse began her journey of dance at Prairie School of Dance in Eden Prairie. She continued there till the age of 16 and moved with her family to Northern Virginia, where she continued her dance education at Northern Virginia Dance Academy as a student and a member of their ADE Dance ensemble. She has also had the privilege of dancing for a professional Opera singer’s annual Christmas show at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Virginia. Upon her High School graduation, Elyse attended Liberty University where she earned her degree in Business Project Management and minor in Accounting. While she was at the University, she was a dancer of a student led dance ministry called Divine Call Dance and taught at Amherst Dance Academy. She is now working at Grace Church, in Eden Prairie as a Junior High Ministry Associate and Project Coordinator and incredibly thankful with the journey that God has her on. Elyse is extremely honored to work at CREO Arts & Dance Conservatory and looks forward to the years to come.
Special Events Costumer
Tiffany Hoeft is a mom of 4 (2 of which are CREO dancers!) She has been dancing tap, ballet, jazz and modern since she was 8 years old and was a Dance Performance Minor at Rhode Island College before getting married to her husband Steve and moving to MN in 2005. Tiff met Ms. Christa at her first ever open house looking for a dance studio for her then 3 year old, so she’s technically been a part of Creo since the beginning. She has taught some years but her true passion is using her creativity in our costumer role. It’s fun and fulfilling helping our dancers feel beautiful, get performance ready or even help them get into a specific character for our sacred dancers or TNT production. It’s a privilege to have been able to see so many dancers grow and mature into young adults during Tiffany’s time involved and she will be ever grateful for CREO being a part of her life!
Alejandra Iannone was classically trained in the Cecchetti method and obtained her B.F.A in Dance from Fordham University and The Ailey School. She has had the pleasure of teaching ballet and contemporary dance at private and public schools throughout the USA and in Argentina, most recently at Saint Paul Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theatre, and The Ailey School. Her classes emphasize clarity, integrity, musicality, and dynamics. Alejandra aims to provide a supportive, inclusive environment where students are encouraged to explore classical ballet as a form of creative expression.
She has had the honor of performing at venues throughout the Twin Cities Metro, the United States, and abroad. Recent favorites include The Shed, The Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, Jacob’s Pillow, the Versace Mansion, and The Armory, where she performed in Jennifer Lopez’s Super Saturday Night during Superbowl LII. In addition to her work as a performer, Alejandra serves as the Co-Director of immersive theatre company Sparkle Theatricals, and as a member of the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council’s Board of Directors. Alejandra is an ABT® Affiliate Instructor who successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Levels 6, 7 & Partnering of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. She is certified in Balanced Body Pilates (Mat 1 and 2), IM=X Pilates, Leap ‘N Learn Creative Movement, and holds an M.A. in Philosophy from Temple University.
Julia trained at the Neta Barker School of Ballet in her hometown of Wayland, Massachusetts, and continued studying dance at St. Olaf College where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Dance with a focus in Somatics. Julia has had the opportunity to perform choreography by Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater, Alexandra Beller/Dances, Concerto Dance with Jolene Konkel and has danced in the Minnesota Fringe and with various independent choreographers. Julia currently dances professionally with two companies, Alternative Motion Project. Julia’s approach to is greatly informed by a philosophy shared by many somatic modalities that by understanding our bodies, we more deeply understand ourselves. Julia is also certified in Progressing Ballet Technique and looking forward to another great year at CREO.
Brenda graduated from MSU, Mankato with bachelor degrees in both dance and mass media. Since moving to Minneapolis, she has performed with Concerto Dance, Zorongo Flamenco, Eclectic Edge Ensemble, Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, Borealis Dance, Karla Grotting, Cynthia Guttierrez-Garner, and other independent artists. She has taught at various studios throughout Minnesota including Touch of Grace and Ballare Teatro. Brenda is thrilled for the opportunity to work with dancers at CREO for the 20/21 season.
Amber grew up taking dance at Kay Marie & Carol’s School of Dance. She was a Mound Westtonka Pop Singer and has served as a dance team coach in the district. She is a loving mom of two and has been with Tonka DanceWorks and CREO since the beginning, serving as the office manager for Tonka DanceWorks for many years. She is inspired by how Tonka DanceWorks and CREO has grown to reach so many students across the West Metro and looks forward to another year at CREO!
Betsy G. Nelson
Betsy (Gaasedelen) Nelson is a dance artist, educator, and proud Minnesotan. She earned her BA in Dance and Exercise Science from St. Olaf College and is currently performing with Collide Theatrical Dance Company. She has also performed professionally with Jolene Konkel, Minnesota Opera (Heidi Spesard-Noble), Curio Dance, Rhythmically Speaking, and more. During the school year Betsy also serves as a choreographer for the Jugheads Youth Juggling Company, and as a study guide writer for The Ordway (Education Department). She is thrilled to be entering another season with the outstanding students and staff at CREO! Ephesians 3:20-21
Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, Rebecca received her early years of training at Bonnie Haney School of Dance and Inspire Dance and Wellness before continuing to study at North Dakota State University and Minnesota State University-Moorhead. In 2011 Rebecca moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where she has danced and performed with Zenon Dance School Zone Program, Innovative Productions, Minnesota Fringe Festival, Motion Art, Vanessa Voskuil, Joanna Lees, and Paper Crown Dance.
Rebecca graduated in May 2018 with a BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota where she had the opportunity to study movement and compositional techniques from Michel Kouakou, Joanie Smith, Erin Thompson, Carl Flink, Angharad Davis, and HIJACK. Rebecca has also had the chance to perform in works choreographed by Black Label Movement, Rosy Simas, and Michel Kouakou during her time at UMN.
Rebecca’s focus in her dance career has been drawn to her passion of choreography where she is interested in using comic critique to poke at life’s absurdities, Rebecca’s work focuses on pop culture references that are used to deconstruct personal boundaries of both the performers and audience as a form of dialog between the two. Aside from choreography Rebecca has also found a personal strength in production, stage managing, and studio management.
Maddy is a dance artist and educator. She has been dancing since the age of 3, starting her training at Jan’s School of Dance and continuing to receive a BFA in dance at the University of Minnesota. During her time at U of M, Maddy performed work by local choreographers including Carl Flink, Chris Schlicting, and Herb Johnson III. She currently performs Threads Dance Project and Concerto Dance. Maddy is passionate about the art of teaching and seeks to provide opportunities for personal and artistic growth for the youth she works with. She has taught youth dance for 4 year through private studios and community education, and also worked with youth as an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow. In addition to dance, she has experience teaching group fitness classes including barre and cardio kickboxing.
When she’s not teaching or dancing, Maddy enjoys hiking, playing board games, and trying new coffee shops.