The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Mildred Cruzat

Share on Social Media

Information about Mildred Cruzat

Profile image of Mildred Cruzat

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Community Leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Baby Blue, White, Bright Yellow
Favorite Food:
Chocolate
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cape Town, South Africa; Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Favorite Quote:
The Mintage Of Wisdom Is To Know That Rest Is Rust, And That Real Life Is In Love, Laughter, And Work.

Birthplace

Born:
2/17/1927
Birth Location:
Detroit, Michigan

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Community Leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Baby Blue, White, Bright Yellow
Favorite Food:
Chocolate
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cape Town, South Africa; Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Favorite Quote:
The Mintage Of Wisdom Is To Know That Rest Is Rust, And That Real Life Is In Love, Laughter, And Work.

Birthplace

Born:
2/17/1927
Birth Location:
Detroit
See how Mildred Cruzat is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Mildred Cruzat was born in Detroit on February 17, 1927. The third of four children, she attended public schools in Detroit and then spent a year at Highland Park Junior College in Detroit. Following that, she went to New York, where she attended the American School of Ballet at Carnegie Hall.

While studying in New York, Cruzat worked as a sales associate at Bloomingdale's, but after completing her ballet training she joined the Larry Steele Smart Affair dance troupe, based in New York and Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 1950, she went to Ziggy Johnson's School of Ballet in her native Detroit, where she became an instructor. That same year she also performed with Shuffle Along in a Broadway performance. Cruzat's next destination was St. Louis, where in 1951 she worked as a performer on the Spider Burke TV Show, the first African American television show in the St. Louis market. After her departure from the program, Cruzat spent many years raising her three children.

Cruzat resumed dancing in 1975, working with the Joseph Holmes Dance Theatre in Chicago, where she stayed for five years. In 1981, Cruzat joined the Tony Wilson Dance Company and the Bell School of Performing Arts as an instructor of children's and adult ballet and fitness. Cruzat joined the Chicago Urban League in 1983, working in the Young Parents Center, teaching fitness and dance to young mothers. That same year, she opened the Millie Cruzat Total Fitness Center, where she is still an instructor to all ages for fitness and dance. Cruzat joined the COPE program at the University of Chicago in 1985 as an instructor of dance for teenagers with children. In 1987, Cruzat joined the Beethoven Elementary School staff as a ballet instructor and remained there for eight years, and in 1992, was hired by Lake Meadows Fitness Center as an instructor. She held that position until 1995. In 2002, Cruzat joined the Stewart Modeling Agency, where she continues to work as a model.

In addition to owning her own fitness center, modeling and instructing, Cruzat is active in a number of organizations. She is a member of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and she serves on the boards of the Joseph Holmes Dance Troupe and the Katherine Dunham Retrospective. She is an avid tennis player, and in 1973 was a quarterfinalist in the Women's 35 Singles at the American Tennis Association National Championships. She has devoted her life to fostering the development of African American children through dance and fitness. Cruzat lives in Chicago. She has three children.

See how Mildred Cruzat is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mildred Cruzat's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mildred Cruzat lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mildred Cruzat describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mildred Cruzat talks about her mother's childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mildred Cruzat describes her mother's occupation and how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mildred Cruzat describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mildred Cruzat describes her childhood in Montgomery, Alabama, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mildred Cruzat describes her childhood in Montgomery, Alabama, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mildred Cruzat describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mildred Cruzat talks about walking to school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mildred Cruzat talks about going to school and a local market
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mildred Cruzat talks about the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mildred Cruzat describes the cultural education she received from her mother in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mildred Cruzat describes visiting her grandmother at the wealthy Stroh family home
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mildred Cruzat describes her childhood personality and interests
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mildred Cruzat describes her sisters and her experience at Alger Elementary School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mildred Cruzat talks about attending church
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Mildred Cruzat talks about the musicians she listened to and the dancers she saw
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mildred Cruzat describes her experience at Northern High School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mildred Cruzat talks about crossing paths with HistoryMakers Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mildred Cruzat talks about her extracurricular activities in Detroit's Northeastern High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mildred Cruzat describes her decision to become a dancer after graduating from Northeastern High School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mildred Cruzat describes moving to New York City to study dance at Carnegie Hall
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mildred Cruzat describes her experience in Larry Steele's "Smart Affairs" show
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mildred Cruzat describes how her personality kept her away from trouble
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mildred Cruzat talks about the performers and night clubs in New York City, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Mildred Cruzat describes her experience in the 1952 revival of "Shuffle Along"
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mildred Cruzat shares her impressions of Sammy Davis, Jr. and Lena Horne
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mildred Cruzat talks about HistoryMaker Katherine Dunham and her dancers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mildred Cruzat describes about the difficulties experienced by Sammy Davis, Jr. and black dancers in Hollywood, California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mildred Cruzat talks about her experience on Jesse "Spider" Burks' variety show in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mildred Cruzat describes meeting her husband and starting a family
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mildred Cruzat describes joining the Joseph Holmes Dance Theatre and learning the Graham technique
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Mildred Cruzat describes starting to teach dance at Beethoven Elementary School in 1987
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Mildred Cruzat describes her concerns for the children she teaches, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Mildred Cruzat describes her concerns for the children she teaches, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Mildred Cruzat talks about her husband's death
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Mildred Cruzat talks about her family
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Mildred Cruzat describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Mildred Cruzat describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Mildred Cruzat reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Mildred Cruzat describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Mildred Cruzat narrates her photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Mildred Cruzat narrates her photographs, pt. 2