Florence Ruston Oral History, 2004
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Florence K. Ruston recounts her early years in Denver, Colo. where she began dancing at about four years of age with dance teacher Laura Shank. She talks about Denver at that time, ''the horse and buggy days.'' Ruston also talks about performing in Denver as a child. Her mother took her to Hollywood, Calif. in the summers where she appeared in several silent films. Ruston relates auditioning for Hal Roach and taking dance lessons from Nico Cherisse with to- be stars such as Betty Grable, Cyd Cherisse, and Agnes de Mille. She appeared in several Hal Roach movies. She talks about her early teenage years when she began teaching elocution and tap dance. Ruston opened her own dance studio in the Tabor Building in Denver in 1933 after she graduated from East High School. She talks about how successful she was because she ran her studio as the business it was. Her students performed in annual recitals that she designed. She talks about accepting the position of dance teacher at Elitch's during the summers, which she did for over 25 years. She also choreographed the Denver Post Operas for Al Birch for several years. She operated her dance school and taught for over 25 years. Ruston was the first president and co-founder of the Denver Civic Ballet Guild (later the Denver Ballet Guild) and organizer of the first Bal de Ballet.