From: The National Police Gazette - September, 1943. Page 3.
Ruby Ring, An Exponent of Intricate Art
A Lovely Acrobat Reveals her Formula for Health, Happiness, and Beauty
By: Edythe Farrell
The art of contortion has been with us for centuries. As far back as the middle ages, one can read glowing accounts of the performances of court favorites, who twisted and turned their bodies in such a way as to produce strange and difficult patterns.
This art has not waned thru the years. Acrobatics and allied fields have flourished to a point where there is no position or posture which cannot be assumed by some artist of contortion.
Probably one of the greatest living exponents of contortion today is Ruby Ring, a petite, blue-eyed blonde who can do amazing and incredible things with her agile body.
Ruby is so graceful and lovely that the most complicated feats seem simple and pleasing, rather than crude and distorted as some contortionists make them appear. For five years this nineteen year old beauty has been the rage of American and South American night clubs and theatres, yet she is natural and unassuming.
"I'm of Mormon descent," Ruby told me as I offered her a cigarette in my office. "I couldn't possibly accept a smoke any more than I would take a drink. I may be away from my home town of Salt Lake, Utah, but I would never drop the Mormon way of life. I don't consider it prudish. I feel, rather, that it is a common sense way of living."
Actually, it was this urge for the right way of living which made Ruby's mother give her daughter lessons in tap, ballet, and eventually acrobatics at an early age.
"I was very weak and undersized," Ruby explained. "My mother thought that dancing lessons would help me develop. At first I was terribly stiff and graceless, then I really began to get fun out of what I was doing. After a year my teacher told mother she couldn't teach me anything else. I had learned her entire repertoire."
"When I was thirteen I entered an amateur dancing contest as a lark and came away with the first prize. I was awfully excited because the first prize was three weeks of professional work. So there I was on the stage at thirteen."
One engagement led to another and Ruby discovered that incorporating more contortion into her dances made her more popular. At fifteen she was offered and engagement in Australia at a fabulous sum.
Ruby's mother wanted to accompany her but she had eight other children to consider so Ruby skipped off alone.
"Mother needn't have worried," Ruby told me smilingly, "The Australian people were swell. I guess they realized what a kid I was, so they all went out of their way to treat me gently. I came back to the States laden with presents.
"The last three days before we landed, I was so excited, I didn't sleep at all, because I was scheduled to open on Broadway. It's kind of hard to explain how a small town kid from Utah feels about the bright lights of Broadway. The very name had glamour for me. My trip out of the country was nothing compared to a Broadway appearance. I opened at the Loew's State on the same bill with Henry Youngman, the top notch comedian. I don't know how I ever got thru my act. I guess I was more thrilled at watching the audience than they were at watching me. As far as I was concerned they were sophisticated New Yorkers and I was a hick."
Actually, Ruby never got over the feeling. She is still wide-eyed and thrilled. She will speak with the awe of the beautiful, chestnut-haired Laraine Day, the movie star, the King Sisters of Radio, and other people of Mormon descent who have made good.
As a matter of fact, Ruby, herself, is one of the greatest prides of her home town. It isn't every girl, at nineteen, who can make hundreds of dollars a week and gain international fame.
Probably Ruby's greatest triumph came in Mexico City, where she was held over for 16 weeks at the El Patio, the city's swankiest night spot.
"I made two farewell appearances, walking down the thirty step staircase on my hands, but every time I tried to really leave the manager changed my plans; finally I up and just went--no farewell appearance or anything. I felt that I might succumb to their manana (putting off till tomorrow) way of living and I guess I'm just a sucker for the States."
Ruby's next stop was the "Chez Paree" in Chicago where she proved to herself that her twists, turns, and dances would go as well with the Gringos (the Americans) as they did with the Mexican cavalleros.
"I don't know how I'd feel if I didn't register with an audience, " Ruby told me. "I certainly try hard to please. I guess I've been lucky. There's never been anything to make me feel bad. I just go along feeling 'super.' There isn't anything like contortion to make a person healthy and fit."
Ruby has a fixed theory that the acrobatic movement of legs, arms, and torso make a person's organs function correctly. Whether the theory holds water or not is debatable. The truth of the matter is that if contortion has made her as perfect as she is, then contortion is the answer to many health problems.
Ruby is 5 feet two inches tall. She weighs 110 pounds and hasn't a waste pound of flesh on her entire frame. She is delicately yet muscularly constructed, to lovely feminine perfection.
"I guess it seems pretty simple when you see me out front turning and twisting out of shape," Ruby said, "well, it does come quite easy after a while, but each and every time I go out to perform, I must limber up for fifteen or twenty minutes in advance, just like fighters, runners, or other athletes, or I'll be stiff.
"Then I've got to be careful about eating just before my act. I just have a malted milk, because nothing else will digest. Other times I really dig in. I love ice cream, and steak and milk--and then more milk. I even drink as many as three quarts of milk a day."
Ruby's distinction comes from the fact that she has made her appendages interchangeable. There is nothing she can do with her feet that he can't do with her hands, and nothing she can do with her hands that she can't do with her feet. Wrung around in any position, no matter how incomprehensible and incongruous, Ruby always appears smiling, lovely, and perfectly natural to behold.
Though she has been endowed with more than average pulchritude and a sunny disposition, she cherishes no dream of screen fame, except as a contortionist or acrobatic dancer.
"I sure admire great dramatic actresses like Greer Garson and Ingrid Bergman," she told me, "but I'd never dare try that sort of stuff. Why in a great dramatic scene, I'd probably up and put my foot in my mouth, and I'm not kidding. I guess I know my limitations. I can twist my body, but I'll leave the twisting of emotions to Garbo.
Truly, though Ruby's body contortions are plentiful, she never contorts her face in any manner. Her's is a youthful, smiling countenance, for she is happy and healthy doing just what she is doing.
There is little that Ruby can achieve which she has failed to achieve. Claiming no particular versatility, she would rather be the top exponent of the art of contortion than just another chorus cutie.
With representatives like Ruby, the age old art of body contortion will never die. The performances that thrilled kings of other centuries will thrill night club and theatre audiences till time immortal.
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