|Died||August 13, 2019 (aged 83)|
|Occupation||Ballet dancer |
|Known for||Founding member of the Joffrey Ballet and Harkness Ballet|
Ruiz was born in Rincón, Puerto Rico, and raised in Spanish Harlem in New York City. She had four sisters and two brothers. Ruiz started dancing at age 12. She attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts, where Robert Joffrey taught her ballet.
In 1956, Joffrey chose Ruiz to be one of the six original Joffrey Ballet members. Ruiz was the youngest of the group, which also included Gerald Arpino, Glen Tetley, Beatrice Tompkins, Dianne Consoer, and John Wilson (to whom Ruiz was married from 1956 to 1967). With the Joffrey Ballet, Ruiz toured the country, performing one-night-only shows and introducing ballet as an art form to audiences across the United States. When Rebekah Harkness, patron of the Joffrey Ballet, disputed with Joffrey in the 1960s, the company split; Ruiz joined the newly formed Harkness Ballet. She returned briefly to the Joffrey Balleytin 1968. As a performer, Ruiz toured internationally, dancing in Europe, the Soviet Union, Middle East, and India.
After retiring from performance in 1971, Ruiz taught and choreographed as associate director of the Baron Ballet in Waldwick, New Jersey, from 1976 to 1983. She served as ballet mistress with the Milwaukee Ballet from 1983 to 1986, and taught at LaGuardia, her alma mater, from 1986 until her retirement in 2001. She also taught at the Joffrey Ballet School-American Ballet Center in New York.
Ruiz married Joffrey principal dancer Paul Sutherland in 1968. She had two daughters, Mhari Wilson and Alicia Sutherland. In 1995, Ruiz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York Empire State College.
Ruiz died in her home in Waldwick, New Jersey, on August 13, 2019, at the age of 83.
- Kisselgoff, Anna (2019-08-30). "Brunilda Ruiz, Original Joffrey and Harkness Dancer, Dies at 83". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-12-25.
- "Brunilda Ruiz". The Record/Herald News. 2019-11-18. Retrieved 2019-12-24.
- Prince, Rayna (1971-02-18). "Who's Who Spotlights Waldwick Ballerina". Ridgewood Herald-News. p. 13. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
- Anawalt, Sasha (1997). The Joffrey Ballet: Robert Joffrey and the making of an American dance company (University of Chicago Press ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-01755-9. OCLC 37030917.