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Legacy Oral History Online Collection

Ruiz Audio Clip and Transcript

Ruiz Clip

Interviewer: Patricia Bulitt

MR: Before [the Opera House] opened, they had a performance and they asked me if I would do something, a performance, at the ballet school. I said “What the heck, why not?” So I—when I was dancing in “Agua Caliente,” this dancer that I had to dance with taught me a rumba. And I thought “Why not do a rumba?” At the ballet school, yeah, I know everybody knows, but my charisma and the way I performed, you know, danced, and came out to do my rumba, Adolph Bolm fell in love with my dancing. He thought, “Oh my God, you’ve got to do ‘Coq d’Or!”

PB: That’s fabulous.

MR: I don’t know, it was my . . ., I was a star, but then—the ballet dancers were all furious at the idea that some woman, some little girl comes around and dances, doesn’t even know how to do ballet and she becomes the star in “Coq d’Or”…

PB: But you know what you knew.

MR: Yeah, and Adolph Bolm, who is the greatest, (you know, he died) considered me something phenomenal, you know?

PB: So the rumba that you did. Can you describe that dance for me in any way?

MR: Well I didn’t do the rumba the way the Cubans do it.

PB: How did you do the rumba?

MP: I don’t know. My entrance, when coming out, (even if it wasn’t a stage) but my appearance and the way I walked and the way I held my head and the way I just danced with, with, feeling, feeling, enjoying it, it was so much, so strong, that Adolph Bolm fell in love with it.

PB: So the rumba, the origin of the rumba is what, Maclovia?

MR: Well, I mean, in Cuba, still, they still do it.

PB: It’s a Cuban dance?

MR: It’s a Cuban dance, a Cuban ballroom dance now, and people do it as a performance too.

PB: And is the rumba traditionally a solo piece or is it…?

MR: No, it’s for ballroom dancing.

PB: So what you’re saying is, that without your partner who had taught you this, you adapted this in some interpretive way based on your knowledge of the traditional form and your skill as an interpretive dancer came together.

©Museum of Performance + Design

Maclovia Ruiz
Ruiz Audio Clip and Transcript