Obit: Dorothy E. Lundstrum, 85, teacher of dance/manners

  • Article by: ALLIE SHAH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 13, 1998 - 10:00 PM

In her 70-plus years of teaching dance and manners, Dorothy E. Lundstrum did more than demonstrate pirouettes and etiquette. She taught her students the value of their inner beauty.

"They need confidence to be themselves," she would say. "You have to become beautiful on the inside."

Lundstrum, whose dance studio was an institution on Minneapolis' North Side, died Thursday of heart failure at St. Gertrude Health Center in Shakopee. She was 85.

A dancer all her life, she studied as a child with the Russian Ballet School in Minneapolis. Rheumatic fever kept her off her toes for a year before she defied doctors' orders and started dancing again.

A teenage Lundstrum balked at a full college scholarship, opting to open a dance studio with her older sister, Marion Lundstrum Boucher.

Lundstrum Dance Studios remained her base, from which she occasionally took breaks. One year she studied and taught ballet in New York, where she also danced in musicals.

Teaching was her passion, said Jim Boucher, Dorothy's nephew. "She taught dance but really what she taught was life to those girls, from etiquette to spirituality to living just a good life."

Boucher became a believer in his aunt's teaching after he started playing piano for her lessons. His mother, Marion, had died, and Lundstrum was all alone. "I said, 'I'll play for a year and that's it,' " Boucher recalled, laughing. That was 15 years ago.

Her students include Arlene Dahl, Liberace, the Andrews Sisters and Laurie Coleman. Until this fall, Lundstrum was still teaching tap, ballet and two exercise classes. She stressed health, confidence and, above all, faith in God.

For her dedication to teaching, she was honored last spring at a tribute. Lundstrum couldn't fathom why so many people continued to flock to her classes, but her pupils agreed it was mostly because of her.

"She's just like another mother," longtime student Sandy Jakubic told the Star Tribune in May. "She taught us what to do and what not to do."

In addition to her nephew, Lundstrum is survived by a sister, Lorraine Mellin, of San Francisco.

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Ascension Catholic Church, 1723 Bryant Av. N., Minneapolis. Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Washburn-McReavy Du Schane Chapel, 4239 W. Broadway, Robbinsdale.

Memorials are suggested to Ascension Pride.

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