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Olaf 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


  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 on.

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 Bolm's piano!

Yes, it must have been a wonderfully interesting way to grow up!



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