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.
Alicia began dancing for the Evans High School hip hop team in Orlando, FL. While attending Florida State University (FSU), she trained in ballet and jazz and was a member of Chameleon Dance, a hip hop/jazz troupe. She continued her dance training at Minnesota Dance Theatre and Zenon, also taking classes in Afro modern and contemporary. Alicia has performed works by choreographers, such as Deneane Richburg and Alanna Morris Van-Tassel, danced with Threads Dance Project, and currently performs with One Dance. She also enjoys dancing in community and faith based programs and has Caribbean roots that influence her dance movement. Alicia has a Master’s degree in Math (FSU) and a PhD in Educational Psychology (Quantitative Methods) from the University of Minnesota. She is interested in art based research and evaluation. When not teaching/dancing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. She is excited to share her joy for dance at Creo.
Lauren Baker is from St. Louis Park, MN and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Minnesota. In 2009, she performed José Limón’s masterwork Missa Brevis with the Limón Dance Company at the Northrop Theater. Lauren is currently a company member with Black Label Movement and Shapiro & Smith Dance, and is an apprentice with Zenon Dance Company. As a teacher and choreographer, Lauren has enjoyed sharing her expertise with students throughout the Midwest for 8 years. Her choreography has won several judges’ choice awards, most notably a “Best Choreography” award in 2017. In addition to her professional dance career, Lauren is a talented professional portrait and wedding photographer (www.laurenbakerphoto.com). Lauren is excited to join the CREO family!
Halie Bahr is a Minneapolis based performer, dance maker, and teacher. Her works have been presented in Milwaukee and Minneapolis at Company Brewing, Zenon Dance, The Soap Factory, Gamut Gallery, The Polish Falcon, Mitchell Hall and Theatre Unchained. Bahr recently produced her own work at the Chicago Fringe Festival in September of 2017. Bahr has performed for Artist’s such as Sarah Weber Gallo, Rebecca Stenn, Stephan Koplowitz, Maria Gillespie, Trisha Brown (restaged by Melinda Myers), Merce Cunningham (Field Dances), Elizabeth Johnson, Luc Vanier, Debra Loewen, Kym McDaniel and Christina Briggs-Winslow. She also appeared in McDaniel’s film ‘Splinter’, which screened in Norway at the 2016 R.E.D International Film Festival. Bahr graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance Performance & Choreography from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.
TDW Principal & School Costumer
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 instructing dancers across the Twin Cities for 11 years. She has also been blessed with opportunities to learn from talented dancers such as Derick Grant, Dianne Walker, and tapper Galen Higgins from Rhythm Circus. Recently, Caitlin has been exploring Body Percussion and Rhythm Theory, attending summer residencies with IFTRA & Chicago Human Rhythm Project. While Caitlin attended Virginia Commonwealth University for Woodworking, she never let go of her passions for dance and costume design/construction. Therefore, she is proud to be considered a costumer with Creo Arts & Dance as well.
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 currently performs with Collide Theatrical Dance Company as well as Alternative Motion Project. She has performed with companies such as Curio Dance, Jolene Konkel Dance Collective, Eclectic Edge Ensemble, and Li Chiao-Ping Dance. She received her dance training as a youth at Ballet Arts Minnesota and Minnesota Dance Theatre & School, 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. For her, dance is joy, and thus it will be ever-present in her life.
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!
Linda Muir Finney holds a B.F.A. and M.F.A. in Ballet from the University of Utah. She has danced for Ballet West, the Susan Warden Dancers, and Brosseau Danceworks where she also served as Associate Director. She has held faculty appointments at Kansas State University, the University of Kansas, Kent State University, Queens College and at the University of Minnesota. In 2007, Linda received both the Chicago regional Youth America Grand Prix award for Outstanding Teacher of the Year as well as the Dance Teacher Magazine award for Studio Teacher of the Year.
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!