Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Ruiz grew up in San Francisco, where she studied ballet as well as folk dance.
According to the AP, when Ruiz debuted with San Francisco Ballet in 1923, she was the first "woman of color" to appear with the company. In 1936, she appeared with the American Ballet Company, a short-lived company created by Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein before they founded New York City Ballet. Ruiz starred in the company's staging of Carmen.
In addition, Ruiz maintained a much-acclaimed career as a solo flamenco dancer, and taught ballroom and Spanish dance.