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"We did anywhere from four to five shows a day, seven days a week."

portrait of young woman in 1930s

Marilyn Ruekberg is a former dancer and dance educator. She toured internationally and performed regularly at Chicago’s famous Empire Room with the Merriel Abbott Dancers. Ruekberg also danced briefly with the San Francisco Ballet. Throughout her career, she often performed under the name "Mari Lynn." After retiring from performing, she opened the Marilyn Ruekberg School of Dance in Highland Park, IL. 


August 14, 2019: A day after her 97th birthday, Marilyn Ruekberg shares memories of her extensive performing and teaching career. She describes taking class from Merriel Abbott and her performances with the Abbott dancers throughout her teens and twenties, recalls stories of traveling around the world and working with some of the most popular performers of the time. Ruekberg also reflects on her philosophies as a dance educator and how dance continues to impact her life.

"Give up so quick? Never!"

"When I was 14, I danced at the Empire Room as a soloist... and I lived at the Palmer House because my folks had moved back to Kenosha."

"So I took the sling off, I did the flip flop, and I passed out."

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