Studying at Pointe Dance Academy since it opened its doors on St. Croix, Catherine is a true Pointe Dance veteran! Through her training, she successfully completed Cecchetti ballet exams through Advanced Level II and had the opportunity to attend summer dance intensives in Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and Denmark. Pointe Dance Academy provided Catherine with the training to be competitive with other young dancers across the country as well as in Europe.
After high school, Catherine went on to major in Ballet Performance at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and during her time at the school had the chance to study and perform in many different forms of dance. After graduating from UArts, Catherine also spent time dancing as an apprentice with the Brooklyn Ballet in New York City, and performed with two independent choreographers. Returning home to St. Croix for a short period she was able to jump back in and support Pointe Dance Academy as a teacher and as a choreographer for the Spring Recital. Currently living in Maryland, Catherine continues her dancing as a member of two dance companies; MOVEius Contemporary Ballet and Ballet ADI.“I was always complimented on my thorough ballet training and it’s been an incredibly important factor in my success as a dancer,” says Catherine, “little did I know at age four, when Pointe Dance Academy opened up down the road, that my life would be forever changed. I’m thankful to have had access to the excellent training that enabled me to pursue a career in dance.”
Nateli M. Ruiz, a 23 year-old hispanic, St. Croix native of the U.S. Virgin Islands, graduated from Jacksonville University in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program for Dance. She has been dancing since the age of four, starting at Music in Motion then at the age of five, continuing her training at Pointe Dance Academy.
Throughout her time at Jacksonville University, Nateli received several scholarships and awards for her excellence in the arts. She has had the opportunity to work with American Ballet Theatre II, David Parsons, Jennifer Muller and Rosero Mccoy. She also had the opportunity to work with Debbie Allen twice; first through the Debbie Allen Summer Intensive in 2008 and a second time in 2010, at the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade as a backup dancer for Mariah Carey.
Nateli also had the opportunity to participate in the ARCHCORE40 Summer Intensive directed by world-renowned choreographer, Jennifer Archibald. From the poll of 200 applicants, Nateli along with 39 other exceptional candidates were accepted into the program. Furthermore, she was selected by Daryl Foster (Scholarship Director) to be a scholar at Gotta Dance Atlanta. Within a month of moving there, she was selected to be a part of the Xcel Talent Agency, run by Aris Golemi.
A pivotal moment in Nateli’s career was when she made her debut in her first commercial for Coca-Cola, a promotion in which she was featured as one of fourteen dancers for professional dancer/choreographer Marquese Scott, with choreography by Dakota Smith. Nateli has recently been working on her choreography skills to further her craft of producing independent showcases around the globe. Her work has been featured in such showcases as; Emerging: A New Choreographer’s Workshop and Mad Expressions. Her future plans are to continue free-lancing, auditioning and dancing with professional companies and agencies around the world.