“I would call her a ballet teacher’s teacher,” she said.
Marie Ellen Roberts of Atlanta died Sunday from complications of heart failure at St. Joseph’s Hospital. She was 90.
Her graveside service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at Arlington Memorial Park. H.M. Patterson & Son, Arlington Chapel is handling the arrangements.
Throughout her career, Roberts was a role model and mentor who left a lasting impression on her students, most of whom became professional dancers, teachers and owners of dance companies, said her husband of 68 years, Everett Lee Roberts of Atlanta.
“She mentored quite a lot of young ladies,” he said. “And not just for dance, but also for other things. That’s what made her so enduring.”
Roberts’ career as a full-time choreographer and teacher ended when she and Gumm sold the Decatur ballet school to Kathleen Everett in 1980, but she guest taught at other studios around Atlanta and continued to serve as a mentor and adviser. Her contributions to dance and choreography won’t soon be forgotten.
“Not all dancers can make good choreography, too. But she did,” her husband said.
The Decatur School of Dance will dedicate their annual performance to Roberts when they perform on May 17 at the Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech.
In addition to her husband, Roberts is survived by a daughter, Alicia C. Roberts of Hoschton; a son, Douglas Lee Roberts of Castaic, Calif.; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.