Maria Dare Dance History Collection
"Remember Our Roots"

The Ballet House

Portland, Oregon (1940-1997)


In 1940, Polk’s City Directory for Portland Oregon had a listing for R. Donald Dare, “dancing teacher, Ballet House.”  This was Mr. Dare of Lindendare School of Dance 1928-1933, and Serge Volinoff Dance Academy of Denver Colorado, 1934-1938.
In Feb., Amelio Colanton of La Scala Opera produced “the first Portland Season of Grand Opera,” by staging 3 performances of Carmen in 4 acts by Bizet. 
     The program stated, “Dances created by Donald Dare of La Scala, Milan.  Prima Ballerina Maria Boehme.  Guest artiste of Ballet Natasche Elinova.”  Six additional dancers shared the stage with Maria and Elinova.  While the number of dancers was small, the cast was large, filled with singers and orchestra musicians.
1941 La Scala Dancer Names
Georgia Andrews,
Katherine Benninghoff,
Lauretta Meyers Burmester,
Maria Boehme,
Mary Dick Compton,
Geraldine Moore,
Caroliena Wade,
In Dec. The Ballet House presented an evening of music and dance at the “Ballet Club Theatre,”  Nine dancers performed a mix of ballet and  Lindendare repertoire.  Maria Boehme was in 5 dances.  Three of those were solos: Classique Jota de Falla;..Vienese Waltz, and Elinova’s Alegrias (Impressions of the Bullfight).  Swan Lake’s Dance of 4 Swans was performed by Katherine Benninghoff, Geraldine Moore, Caroliena Wade, Georgia Andrews.  This dance is composed of rather simple steps, but arranged in a way that makes it difficult to do.  Clearly, these danders had reached an advanced if not pro level.  Where did they study while Serge was teaching in Denver?
The “Ballet Club Theatre was located in the Selling-Hirsch building.on the corner of SW Washington & 10th.  The 2nd and 3rd floor of this building held several performing arts and teacher studios.  The Ballet House was probably located on the 2nd floor.  It is unknown if Ballet House studio space was converted to the “Ballet Club Theatre” or if the Selling Hirsch building had a separate space that could be rented for small performances.
1941 Ballet Club Theatre Dancers
Name & Number of dances performed.
Georgia Andrews 2
Katherine Benninghoff, 4
Maria Boehme, 2+ 3 solos
Glen Dodd, 1
Charles Holt 1
Geraldine Moore 4
Bob Shannon, 1
Robert Tucker 1 + solo
Caroliena Wade,
The Collection contains several copies of this photo.  It was either a master class or workshop.  Alicia Markova is in black, next to Maria.  Dancers are wearing “Rompers” suggest it was early 1940s.  The studio is The Ballet House, 2nd Floor, Selling-Hirsch building. Take a closer look.
Early 1940s (?) Ballet House, 2nd floor Selling-Hirsch building.  At Barre (front to back)  Dorothy Newcomb, Norman, Jeanne Freitag, Unknown, Richard (Dickie) Cahill, Somebody Simpson, Unknown.  Some of these dancers are in the Master Class photo; however, they do not appear to be wearing "Rompers."
Ballet House Closes
Teachers and Dancers to LA.
About 1945, Serge Dare closed The Ballet House.  He and his top dancers went to Hollywood.  There Serge opened a dance supply shop.  The dancers took classes at from top rated teachers and performed on stage and in films.  Maria studied with several including Eugene Loring and  the Cansinos
Maria Boehme married Serge Dare in California.


Ballet House Reopens
Maria (Boehme) Dare’s LA career was cut short.  Her father’s health was failing.  She was needed at home in Portland OR. Maria and Serge Dare returned to Portland.  They reopened The Ballet House by 1949, in their former location, 2nd floor, Selling Hirsch Building.  They waited 5 months for the 1st student to arrive..  During that year, Maria commuted by train to Eugene and taught some classes at Katherine Scott’s Dance School.
Moves to Top Floor
By 1953, The Ballet House had moved from the 2nd  to the 3rd floor of the Selling-Hirsch building.  It would remain there until 1974.  Their old 2nd floor studio became dance school of former Rocket, Florence Picket.  In 1954 Florence closed her studio to become Connie Worth, News Anchor woman of KGW TV.
1954 Recital
Names of Dancers
& number of dances performed.
Connie Berry (1),
Eric Brastoff (1),
Beverly Britsius (1),
Mable Coles (1),
Vicki Cutshall (1),
Sandy Disbrow (2),
Betty Doucet (2),
Sandra Dunagan (1),
Nancy Beth Falloon (6),
Esther Fero (1),
Mimi Frevert, (5),
Garold Gardner (3+solo),,
Diane Hall (1),
Beth Judd (1),
Carole Lee (4),
Louise Lowe, (1),
Roseland Lowe (1),
Geraldine Lyman (1),
Rosalie Masco (2),
Suzi Mason (3),
Deanna Moor (2),
Anne Marie Niemi (2),
Pat Paulson (4),
Cheryl Petersen (2),
Pat Ploeger (1),
Suni Ploeger, (4),
Louann Richardson (4),
Pat Rifner (2),
Jean Romberg (1),
Aurora Routtu (1),
Jeanie Routtu (1),
Dorothy Schray (3),
Corrine Senn (2),,
Donna Sheets (2),
Lynn Steele (1),
Dorothy Stray (2),
Linda Swan (3),,
Larry Swan (1),
Norine Swan (1),
Lianne Thomason (1),
George Walker (2),
Robin Wallner (3),
Diane Westbrooke (1),
Linda Kay Westom (1),
Kimi Willer (1),
Osa Woodside (1),
Boris Valentov (1),
In 1954, The Ballet House Recital was a major production with 47 dancers.  It was held at Grant High School Auditorium.  Maria Dare performed in a group dance “Majos” and 5 solos, including Elinova’s Impressions of the Bulfight from Lindendare times.  The only other solo was by “Jerry” Gerald Gardener.  Jerry went on to have his own dance studio in Las Vegas.  His brother, John Gardner, had his school in Portland. 
Nancy Beth Falloon, who is in the “Ballet House Restart” pic, had developed into a solid dancer by 1954, preforming in 6 Recital numbers.  Nancy went to Juilliard,  She then went to New York where she has performed on stage, in films, and with the Metropolitan Opera.  As of 2017, she was still making appearances opera productions
1955 Recital
Names of Dancers & number of dances performed.
Maria Dare (1 +4 solos)
Garry Abbott (2)
Susan Anderson (1)
Drue Barnum (3)
Connie Berry, (4)
Mardi Bigalow (1)
Judy Brakstad (1)
Eric Brastoff (1)
Beverly Britzins, (3)
Florence Butterfield (1)
Lea Chilcotte (1)
Sandra Dunagan (1)
Nancy Beth Falloon (5 + solo)
Kathie Ferguson (1)
Esther Fero (2)
Jean Fero (2)
Eve Jo Girt (3)
Arch Gress (2)
Diane Hall (2)
Leslie Hubbard (1)
Genevieve Jones (2)
Beth Judd (2)
Jerri Konrad (1)
Laurie Lou Layton (2)
Carole Lee (7)
Louise Lowe (2)
Geraldine Lyman (3)
Hal Masco (2)
Rosalie Masco (5)
Suzie Mason (5)
Marcia McClendon (4)
Bonnie Jean Nelson (1)
Anne Marie Niemi (2)
Susan Nuremberg (1)
Betsy Otto (1)
Cheryl Peterson (2)
Kathleen Phillips (3)
Pat Ploager (2)
Suni Ploeger (4)
Louann Richardson (3 + solo)
Jean Romberg (3)
Aurora Routtu (3)
Jeannie Routtu (3)
Julie Sericko (1)
Keith Sherman (1)
Lynn Sherman (2)
Norma Snider (1)
Lynn Steele (2)
Kathleen Steinbach (1)
Larry Swan (2)
Linda Swan (3)
Norine Swan (2)
Bob Taylor (2)
Jackie Thayer (3)
Dagmar Takko (6 + solo),
Boris Valentov (2)
Robin Wellner (2)
Linda Kay Westom (1)
Sandra Wolfe (1)
Osa Woodside (2),
1955 Ballet House Recital had 60 dancers.  It included “Les Pettis Riens,” choreographed by Maria Dare to music by Mozart. Maria  choreographed many dances, but rarely listed her works in the program credits.  Dagmar Takko, Nancy Beth Falloon, and Louann Richardson had solos in Les Pettis Riens.  Maria danced 4 solos and a hindu duet with Valentov.  Carole Lee and Dagmar Tukko were coming on strong.  Each appeared in 7 dances. The recital also included a Hindu ballet,“Rasa Leela”, choreographed by Boris Valentov.  His involvement with the Ballet House was relatively short lived.
Continue to Ballet House 1960-1997
Revised:  April 2022
Page by Rozanne of Zandance