||Olaf Bolm in his home with a portrait of
himself at age 15, painted by Nicholai Remisoff.
Olaf Bolm often says, "I
guess I was pretty lucky, growing up the way I
did." And then he goes on to tell stories
about coming home to see his father, Adolph Bolm,
in the living room with John Alden Carpenter,
Igor Stravinsky, Aldus Huxley ... the list goes
Then comes the story about Igor
whispering, inviting him into a back room one
time when he was visiting the Stravinskys. Igor
reportedly showed him how to lock arms, and then
how to put back the vodka. And then Vera's voice
when they came out some time later, "And
what have you been doing, boys?!"
And the story about Nicholai Remisoff
in Chicago when Olaf was very young, still with
the page-boy haircut he detested once he realized
the other boys his age didn't wear their hair
that way. Olaf remembers one day his parents came
home and Olaf was hiding under a table because
he'd finally taken his fate into his own hands
with the help of a scissors. He remembers Nicholai's
kindly face with the big bushy hair peering down
kid-level near him, saying gently, "It's
alright, Olafchuk, you can come out now, come
out, it's okay."
Then he and Rosalind start reminiscing
about yoga lessons with Indra Devi upon Mr. Bolm's
direction. And stories about taking dance lessons
together, presumably so that Olaf could learn
the family trade. And then later presumably so
that Olaf could gain some coordination, with his
father actually asking him not to go into the
family trade after all.
And stories about Mrs. Bolm, a
tiny woman with strength and spirit who wore platform
heels and insisted on carrying groceries daily
up the very steep hill to their home in Hollywood.
(It's such a steep hill that I was nervous driving
there when Olaf showed me their home last year!)
Ruth Page had a story about Olaf.
She travelled with Mrs. Bolm and Olaf during Mr.
Bolm's Intime tour, and was apparently in Olaf's
life when he was very young. He remembers her
fondly, and cherishes a note he received from
her following Mr. Bolm's death. Ruth's says in
a videotaped interview (stored at the Ruth Page
Foundation in Chicago) that she always enjoyed
babysitting for Olaf when the Bolms asked her,
because then she could listen to Prokofieff practicing
Yes, it must have been a wonderfully
interesting way to grow up!