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The Ballets Russes and Its World

Dancing in the Sun: Hollywood...

Era of the Russian Ballet

Diaghilev Observed

The Art of Ballets Russes: The Serge...

Diaghilev's Ballets Russes

Spellings of Adolph Bolm's name found in his papers:

Adolph Bolm
Adolphe Bolm
Adolf Bolm
Adolph Rudolphovich Bolm
Adolph Rudolph Bolm
Adolph Emil Bolm

An Homage to Anna Pavlova
by Adolph Bolm

Ten years have passed since the shocking news of Anna Pavlova's death flashed through a grief stricken world. It reached me during the performance of another great dancer, who has likewise passed into the unknown, Argentina. She was here in Los Angeles, dancing in some Auditorium where Pavlova herself for many seasons had exalted her audiences with her truly divine artistry. When I was told the news, I was stunned; I felt a sharp pain in my heart, like that from a mortal wound.

Mr. Behymer, the impresario, was deeply shaken by the tragic news when it was imparted to him, but I urged him to announce it from the stage. Argentina had just finished her last number on the program, and was preparing herself in her dressing room to dance an encore for the clamoring audience. During this slight interlude, Mr. Behymer consented to make the sad announcement, heartbreaking and unbearable as it was to all who loved her and worshipped her art.

I shall never forget that poignant moment when with tears in his eyes and a failing voice he sobbed out the ominous words that stood spellbound in silent grief and reverence. I saw tears running down saddened faces. The curtain fell on the last touching words of Baehymer, a profoundly felt tribute to the greatest dancer artist of the world.

When Argentina heard the news in her dressing room, she fainted, and when she recovered, she sobbed and mourned as we did. Today, in writing these words, I feel again those mournful moments of ten years back when will live in my heart forever.

My present home in Hollywood is about two blocks away from the house in which pavlova lived, when she was making the silent film, "The Dumb Girl of Portici". Often, when I pass by, I think of that unforgettable time when we were together in the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg, and of our professional life at the Maryinsky Theatre. I think of our long unbroken friendship which endured throughout our entire lives and artistic careers in Russia, in Europe and in the Amerces. I never cease to feel the irreparable loss to the entire world of that incomparable dancer and exquisite human being who has enriched millions of lives by giving so much of spiritual beauty to existence.

Pavlova has inspired untold numbers to dance, and to create beauty in pursuit of the ideal patterned by her. To this day, in spite of the many excellent dancers, and there are among them a few who at times conjure up a fugitive vision of her, none has attained the perfection which was hers. Providence endowed her not only with a beautiful soul and divine talent, but also with the ideal body for the dance. It was these combined qualities of both spiritual and physical beauty which made her art sublime, and enabled her to reach out and stir the personal emotions of each and every member of her audiences. Her appearance on the stage always produced an electric effect. Cultivated or primitive, those who saw her were moved and responded to her arresting and vibrant personality.

After Pavlova had achieved her great success in Russia, she often suffered from moods of depression in which she lamented the limitations of being permitted to dance only before Russian audiences. Russia invited the great dancers of Europe and applauded their art, but Russian dancers had only Russian audiences.

Her passionate yearnings were to dance before the capitals of Europe outside Russia. This longing of hers fired my imagination and stirred in me the growing determination to work towards a realization, to take Pavlova to the world outside, to present her to the enraptured audiences of Europe.

This ambition came to a realization in 1908, when I formed my own company with Pavlova as ballerina, and she appeared in the first ballet performances of a Russian company in Europe outside Russia. I never dreamed at the time that not only thousands but millions would see and worship her art, but today it is a historical fact that this did take place, and in far countries not at that time envisioned in our youthful plans.

Audiences of the entire world have applauded the exquisite Pavlova, surrounded by her company of dancers, in settings and theatres, which, mediocre as they were at the times, could not dim her lustre. How they would have marvelled if they could have seen her in the setting of the sumptuous Maryinsky Theatre, in St. Petersburg, surrounded by the most famous dancers, in ballets created by the greatest choreographers, against a background of the most lavish of scenery and costumes. Amidst all the brilliance, she outshone everyone, even the greatest dancers of her time. That would indeed be a vision, such as one finds only in a dream.

Each time that I pass her former residence here, a profound sadness overwhelms my heart, the regret that she was unwilling to take my advice, often repeated and urged upon her after she complained of her heath and of her knee, on her last tour, in Chicago.

"Take a rest for a year, rearrange your repertory, and when you are completely recovered, you will start out again with renewed enthusiasm" I said. She was unwilling to listen.

"No, no! How can I?" she would cry. "What would become of my dancers? How can I disband my company?"

That concern over her dancers, their career, their livelihood, spurred her above all other considerations to go on at the price of her own health, alas, in the end, of her very life.

Once Pavlova wept that she was to be limited to Russia with her dancing, when she longed for the world. Now the world weeps for her, that it has been deprived of her dancing, and salutes her memory as the Sublime Dancer, the Dance Incarnate, Anna Pavlova.

January 23, 1941


Western Union January 24th, 1931

To: The American Dance, Los Angeles, 306 N. Vermont
and The Dance, Editorial of . 25 W. 43rd St., New York

Anna Pavlova no more. Inconsolable deep sorrow crushes me. How can I utter words as a tribute to her unperishable art. She has been the living symbol of the divine etheral quintessence of the Dance. I bow to her memory and weep the loss of my dear great friend.

Western Union

To: Victor Dandre
Ivy House
Golders Green

Unbearable thought that beloved Anna Pavlovna Njurotshka is no more. Feel that mountains and Earth should crack as deeply as our bleeding hearts. Weeping sorrowfully bring you my profound reverent grief. May Almighty give you courage strength to bear the loss and erect the greatest sanctum to her in memory of her sublime art. Distressed not near you this moment your devoted Adja.

Adolph Bolm



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