Founder & Artistic Director | Teacher / Choreographer
Aretuza Caldas Garner
Ms.Aretuza Caldas Garner was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and started her dance training when she was four, under the guidance of her mother, a professional flamenco and modern ballet instructor. She continued her training under the instruction of several Russian Ballet Masters, Eugenia Feodorova and Tatiana Leskova. When she was 16, she became a professional dancer for Sindicato de Danca do Rio de Janeiro. She was later awarded with a scholarship to study multiple styles of dance at the Hochschule Fur Musik Und Tanz Köln, in Cologne, Germany.
After a long and distinguished dance career throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, in 2003 Ms. Garner founded her own dance academy in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Aretuza’s School of Dance & Pilates. The school had over 150 students taking ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, hip-hop, salsa and flamenco classes. With a strong belief of community and youth enrichment through dance and arts, she ensured that her school offered scholarships to more than 50% of the students who came from underprivileged families. When the Premier and First Lady of Turks and Caicos Islands heard about her drive to empower the country’s youth communities through dance and arts, other altruistic members of the community, provided grants to support her school.
In 2007, some students from her dance school were also awarded scholarships to participate in a Summer Intensive Program at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet under the instruction of Margarita de Sa and John White. Ms.Garner accompanied them there, where she participated and earned a Certificate of Completion in the Vaganova Syllabus Levels 1-5, a comprehensive pedagogue course at the Bryn Mawr College.
Ms. Garner has choreographed and performed in several internationally acclaimed shows in the Caribbean and abroad, including The Lion King, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Grease, Sylvia, Paquita, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Aladdin, Miss Universe Turks & Caicos and Turks & Caicos Music and Cultural Festival (TCMCF), appearing alongside some of the world’s most talented singers such as Alicia Keys, Lionel Richie, Michael Bolton and Ne-Yo.
In 2010, she relocated to Orlando, Florida, where she kept dancing professionally, as well as choreographing and judging several summer dance camps, intensives and workshops. In 2016, she founded the Aretuza’s Ballerina Project, a local performance company for young dancers and she saw able to witness several of her students gaining scholarships at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. In addition, her dance students also competed at many local events and shows, where they performed with distinction at the Universal Ballet Competition and Youth American Gran Prix.
Ms. Garner follows her passion for teaching dance up to this day and strongly preserves the respect, athleticism, discipline, artistry and enrichment of the classical ballet and other forms of art. As an instructor, ballet master and mentor, she keeps supporting her dancers, both former students and present ones, and teaches them the importance of perseverance, discipline and humbleness. Some of her former students have become professionals who completed their education at the University of Cambridge and at Kings College London.
Today, she still performs her role as an International Dance Adjudicator with Sheer Elite International and loves to connect with people she has met throughout her life and their diverse cultures. She was most recently appointed as the Board of Director for the Brazil America Council, where she works with the Culture and Heritage Arts within the community. She is also a member of the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) and the International Dance Council United Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. She holds certifications in Vaganova Classical Ballet Technique, Pilates and Ballet Barre workout.
Teacher / Choreographer
Colin Fuller was born, raised, and began dancing in Melbourne, Florida. He would later train at New Dimensions Dance Company and Next Generation Ballet. Mr. Fuller completed his classical training in New York City attending the School of American Ballet. In 2012, Colin was a double National YoungArts Foundation finalist for both Modern and Ballet.
Colin received a Jerome L. Greene Fellowship to attend the Juilliard School and graduated with his Bachelor in Fine Arts in 2016. While in college his love for choreography became apparent. He was chosen as a choreographer for Juilliard’s Choreographers and Composers showcase and his work was presented in Juilliard’s Choreographic Honors. He then collaborated with musician Mathis Picard for Symphony Space’s Mary Lou Tribute. Colin created and produced the show COOKIE at Arts On Site New York.
Mr. Fuller is a diverse dancer who studied at Paris Opera Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, Forsythe’s Art Of Berlin, and Springboard Dans Montreal. He has performed the works of Jose Limon, Peter Martens, Brian Brooks, and Paul Lightfoot and as the lead in works by Merce Cunningham, Jiří Kylián, and Lar Lubovitch.
Some highlights of his performance career include dancing for harpist Bridget Kibbey’s NYU residency with Kate Skarpetowska, Petr Kotik & New Opera Days Ostrava’s installation located in a Czech coal mine, and Kyle Abraham at the Guggenheim. Perhaps the most significant moments have been working for Lar Lubovitch in Artemis in Athens with Alessandra Ferri, the duet from Concerto Six-Twenty-Two at Hudson River Dance Festival, and Lar’s 50th Anniversary Season at the Joyce Theater.
While enjoying a freelance career in Europe, New York, and Florida, he cultivated his passion for teaching. Mr. Fuller is excited to inspire the next generation of artists and share technical knowledge that will prepare them for anything.
Teacher / Choreographer
Hayley Mertens-Fuller grew up in Jupiter, FL. She graduated from A. W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts as a dance major and trained at Florida School for Dance Education. During her time training, Hayley was privileged to perform works by Troy Powell, Margo Sappington, Jennifer Archibald, Robert Moses, and Christopher Huggins. Hayley had the opportunity to perform professionally for Kyra Jean Green at the 2015 Dance/USA Annual Conference and was a member of the REACH Dance Company. She continued her training during the summers at Alonzo King Lines Ballet, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and Florida Dance Festival.
Hayley attended The Juilliard School in New York City, where she performed works by Katarzyna Skarpetowska, Jose Limon, Helen Simoneau, and Nacho Dueto. She also had her own choreography featured in Juilliard’s Choreographic Honors. Hayley performed at the Guggenheim in the “Works and Process” showcase and The Westfest Top Floor Series. Hayley is a Springboard Danse Montreal alumnus and has danced in Seattle with YC2 under the direction of Kate Wallich, where she danced the works of both Ms. Wallich and David Harvey.
Hayley has also traveled to Sweden with Julia Ehstrand for The Styggbo Residency and worked with choreographer Kate Skarpetowska and harpist Bridget Kibbey during their residency at NYU. Throughout her training and professional career, she has had the opportunity to perform works by Maurya Kerr, Zoe Scofield, Ava Kolarova, Alex Ketley, and Ohad Naharin. Hayley is now performing and choreographing throughout Florida and is a member of both Ballet Florida, located in West Palm Beach, and RAKR Dance Company, located in New Smyrna Beach. She is excited to be back in Florida and teaching the next generation.
Teacher / Choreographer
Katie was born and raised in Orlando, FL. She began dancing at the age of 4. Her first professional training took place at the Orlando Ballet School, where she was mentored by family friend Peter Stark. From there, she continued her training with Irina Deplar and Vadim Fedotov. She then danced professionally for 6 years with Ballet Fedotov. Katie has danced multiple principle roles in full length classical and modern ballets, as well as performing for independent choreographers Dawn Branch and Aretuza Garner. She has also starred in multiple music videos, religious stage productions, and other cross-collaborative artistic initiatives.
Teacher / Choreographer
Cindy Heen currently is adjunct faculty of dance at the University of Central Florida, teaching for Orlando Ballet’s enrichment program, and teaches/ choreographs award winning choreography throughout Florida and California with various schools/studios. Ms. Heen graduated from Mills College in Oakland, CA with her MFA in Dance and Choreography in 2018. Some of her recent performances in California have been with Santa Clara Ballet for their Nutcracker, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble A Soldier’s Tale, and Berkeley Ballet Theatre’s Collage, and in Florida- guest performer for Predator Finals, and with Emergence Dances’ show- Live Love Dance. She is artistic director of Emergence Dance, presenting choreography at various festivals across the US, as well as hosting her own choreography festival once a year. She also choreographs for UCF, as well on occasion works with the Shakespeare Theatre. Dancing professionally, choreographing, teaching, and being an advocate for the arts is what Cindy has dedicated her life to.
Teacher / Choreographer
Rebecca Martin began her training in Ithaca, New York before dancing at Burklyn Ballet Theatre in Vermont , the Pennsylvania Ballet School , and the North Carolina School of the Arts. While earning her B.A., Magna cum Laude, at the University of South Carolina, Rebecca danced many lead roles as a member of the USC Dance Company. Ms. Martin also attended the University of Utah, where she earned her M.F.A. in Ballet with an emphasis in dance education. After graduation in 1999, Rebecca joined The Georgia Ballet, dancing principal roles through 2002. Rebecca has trained with the Atlanta Ballet and been a guest performer with several dance companies in Georgia and Florida, including Maniya Barredo’s Metropolitan Ballet Theatre and Central Florida Ballet. Rebecca has been an instructor for Orlando Ballet School since 2007 and was the Artistic Coordinator of Orlando Ballet School’s south location from 2010 – 2012. She was Lead Ballet Teacher for the Patel Conservatory in Tampa from 2012 – 2014, and she taught classes there for the 2016/2017 season as well. She has been a ballet and pointe instructor at Mount Dora School of Ballet, and from 2018 – 2020 taught ballet and pointe at Orlando Ballet School. In 2018 she presented the 3A class for an ABT National Training Curriculum Exam, and became an Affiliate teacher for two years. The entire class passed with High Honors. She is PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique) certified since 2020 and is eager to use this new knowledge. She continues to learn more and work on earning PBT medallions. She embraces with optimism every new opportunity to share her passion for the art form of ballet.