||Rosalind de Mille in her home with a portrait
of herself at age 17, painted by Nicholai
Rosalind is the reason this website
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 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
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!