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Recommended Books:

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

Betsy Dempf

This article was written by Betsy Dempf on November 15, 1940 for her junior year of high school English class. Now Betsy Barnhart, she has graciously agreed to allow me to publish her writings on the website. Betsy's sister, JoEllyn, studied ballet with Mr. Bolm for several years. Betsy was more interested in music, and studied French with Mrs. Bolm.

Although Adolph Bolm may not be known to many people, he is a most famous man to all those interested in the ballet. About a year ago I met Mr. Bolm, who is now giving ballet lessons in Hollywood. He is perhaps the most interesting and individual person I have met.

Born in St. Petersburg, Adolph Bolm entered the Imperial Ballet School when he was only nine years of age. After studying there for eight years, he joined the Imperial Ballet and soon became the leading dancer and a great favorite.

In 1908 he was the artistic director of the tour of a company headed by Anna Pavlova through Austria, Germany, and Sweden that was the first appearance of the Imperial Ballet members outside of Russia.

As a leading dancer in the Diaghilev Ballet Russe, Mr. Bolm won world-wide attention. He left that company on its second American tour in 1917 and became a Maitre de Ballet in the Metropolitan Opera Company and its leading dancer for seven seasons. With his own Ballet Intime he toured North and South America.

After leaving the Metropolitan, Mr. Bolm was Maitre de Ballet of all the productions of Chicago Opera Company for six years. While there, he established the first American Modern Ballet called "The Chicago Allied Arts, Inc."

In 1930 Mr. Bolm came to Hollywood as a choreographer for the movies. Four years later he joined the San Francisco Opera Association. Mr. Bolm has produced ballets in the Hollywood Bowl six times; one performed last summer was Stravinsky's "Firebird".

Last winter he went to New York, where he created a new ballet which has proven very successful. Mr. Bolm no longer dances himself; he is a great choreographer and ballet teacher.

Even though Mr. Bolm has been living in America for many years, he still has some difficulty with our language. This is partly because so many different languages other than English are spoken at the artistic gatherings which he attends.

Last summer we gave the very interesting Bolm family - I wish I had time to tell you about them all - one of our Persian kittens, whom they have named Chita. Never have I seen a cat more loved and talked about than Chita! She is adored by all the Bolms and their friends, including Mr. Stravinsky, who spends whole afternoons playing with the cat.

One day while we were talking, Mr. Bolm exclaimed, "Oh, I must tell you how fantastic Chita was this morning! She was playing with an alligator on the front porch. The alligator opened his jaws wide and scared Chita so that she hunched up her back and spit at him."

The Bolms have a very charming home in a quiet spot of the Hollywood hills. Mr. Bolm is an affable man, short, with dark skin, piercing eyes, and is much loved by all those who have come in contact with him.

Betsy Dempf
November 15, 1940


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