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Adolph
Bolm


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


Rosalind deMille

Rosalind de Mille in her home with a portrait of herself at age 17, painted by Nicholai Remisoff.

Rosalind is the reason this website happened.

She's also the reason the Library of Congress has such a wonderful collection from Olaf Bolm, and the reason Cyrus Parker-Jeannette and Karen Goodman found each other and were inspired to create a video about Mr. Bolm's life.

We were all charmed by Rosalind's grace, beauty, integrity, knowledge of dance, and most of all by the depth of her character and her ability to love. Her desire to get a book published about Mr. Bolm was steady and strong; in fact, she told me the first year I met her (1997) that she would do anything to get this book project completed. She was concerned at the time I might be a hindrance, and I took her comment to me as fair warning. She was just telling me the truth, and I respected and loved her for it. I'm glad in the end I could be part of the solution instead. But then, that's why we all made these projects about Mr. Bolm our own ... because we love her and what she stands for. We want to carry forward her legacy.

I'd love to create a website about Rosalind's life and career. She started out with Mr. Bolm, worked with Lottie Goslar, Carmelita, and who knows who else. I want to see pictures of her dancing! I want to know what mattered to her as she evolved in life. I know she survived many, many deeply discouraging difficulties. Others might have been crushed by her experiences, but she found her way to love and courageous acceptance through each one. She doesn't want her legacy to be promoted. Rosalind wants Mr. Bolm's legacy promoted. I hope she'll let me leave these pictures of her on my website. She won't show me any pictures of her from her past. I finally got a glimpse when I saw the pictures Ruth Syndon-Jenkins left for me. Ruth was a lifelong friend of Rosalind's and fellow dance student at Mr. Bolm's studio in Hollywood. Ruth died only weeks after I was privileged to meet her at our interview in November 2002. In Ruth's scrapbooks were a few pictures of Rosalind when she was young. Lots of lovely pictures of Ruth dancing, but not one of Rosalind. I can still hope.

Researching and preparing for this website has been quite an experience! I meet such incredible people! Rosalind and Olaf have invited me into their network of friends, and I bask in their shared experience of Mr. Bolm and of life in general. Their friendships of fifty to seventy plus years create a warm atmosphere of trust and a rich treasuretrove of stories and impressions which they generously allow me to share. They stay up late into the night talking. I stay up as late as I can. They let me sleep on the floor by the fireplace with the cat as I try to take in as much storytelling as I can, until I just can't be awake anymore, and I crawl off to bed in Rosalind's room full of books on dance and so many things of life.

When I wake up I look at the books, or just look around the room at her home. Everything about Rosalind is beautiful. She even arranges the fruit on her counter artistically. I love visiting her home. I feel inspired and nurtured and very, very fortunate every time. Quan Yin greets us as we arrive, and blesses us as we leave. Rosalind arrives at the car to greet us, and waves goodbye until we're out of sight when we go.

I also marvel often as I begin writing, and then realize I need more information. Today, for instance, I needed to know how to spell Nicholai Remisoff's name. I thought of doing an Internet search, but then realized others may have misspelled it as easily as I. So I began looking in the books Rosalind gave me from her library. Suddenly it occurred to me ... just go into the living room and look at the painting of Olaf by Remisoff ... and there it was! I'll take Nicholai's word on how to spell his name; that's good enough for me!

Similarly, when I first began trying to make sense out of the several boxes of papers from Olaf Bolm's and Rosalind's combined collection in order to create a congruent 'table of contents' for my project, I thought and thought, and finally came up with my list. But who to check it with? Rosalind!!! She was a Dance Professor at Smith College, she was a professional dancer herself, she studied with Adolph Bolm since she was a child, and she knew him personally as a neighbor! So I called her up, told her what I had so far, asked what she thought, and she concurred and added a few more ideas herself!

That's been my relationship with her throughout this project, and I'm deeply grateful. She and Olaf have shared generously toward the success of this project in so many ways.

They tell me that after Mr. Bolm died, their two mothers (neighbors still) began collaborating on a book they intended to write about Mr. Bolm. They worked hard for several years on a manuscript. Rosalind Schaffer (Rosalind deMille's mother) worked to get it published, and nearly succeeded, but in the end the promised project was cancelled by the publisher. As Olaf puts it, Mrs. Bolm moved away and they both were getting older, and the book project just didn't get completed.

Rosalind deMille, not one to let something worthwhile slip away, was also inspired to share with the world what Mr. Bolm had given those close to him during his life, and to document what he accomplished during his lifetime. She took up the project as her own when their mothers ability to continue waned, and she spent decades looking for an author, trying to get Olaf's attention, working hard researching, contacting, writing, trying. Finally I met her fifty years later when her ability to continue with the project drew to a close. She sadly and decisively was handing it back to Olaf. And they both passed it on to me.

I say again ... I'm no scholar when it comes to dance history or even dance. I've loved dance since I was a child; my first goal was to become a dancer and choreographer before I'd even heard of Pavlova or Bolm. I brought with me into my association with Rosalind and Olaf the love of dance and movement, and I'm gaining a community of friends and family who have lived dance history personally.

I'll do my best to share with you, the reader, what they've learned on a personal level during their years with dance, and what I've learned from them. Gratefully, both Olaf and Rosalind continue to cheer me on for doing exactly what I most want to do!

 

http://www.adolphbolm.com

 

 


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