Over the years, she was always supportive of teachers and former students who had dance studios in out lying areas. Because of this she has stimulated the heart of ballet to pump beyond the city limits of Portland. She has influenced the development of dance in Vancouver WA, Astoria, Seaside, Roseburg, Hood River and Eugene Oregon, to name a few. On the last day of her life she taught classes to an all adult clientele. Her greatest contribution is her pioneering work in development of class content for adult ballet dancers. In Maria's classes the 60+ year old moved fluidly across the floor as easily as the 19 yr old.
In 1997, students arrived at the Ballet House to find the door locked. They immediately knew something was very wrong.
They went to her residence and found her dead. It was reported that the classes she taught on the previous day were especially inspired and she gave a little extra feedback to each student.
Upon hearing of the promised land, the Boehme family immigrated from Germany to Arkansas in 1883. They quickly discovered the new land was not exactly as represented. By 1900, Maria's father and parents had moved to Portland Oregon. Her mother, Emma Tauchmann (Tauckmann) also immigrated from Germany in 1883 and by 1900 they were living in Pleasant Hill, Clackamas Oregon (near what is now Wilsonville.) Frank Boehme and Emma married in 1909 and Maria Boehme was born in Portland in 1911. Their home built by Maria's father was on NE 7th Ave near Burnside.
When Maria was finally old enough to go outside the house and meet new playmates, she realized the people outside her home spoke a different language. She realized that if she was going to make new friends she was going to have to learn to speak English and fast. (I never heard her speak anything but English until about 1995 - we found some old books in her family's attic. She blew the dust off of one and began reading it in fluent German. She then confided in me that, even after all the decades, her brain thought in German and then translated the words to English. I was surprized for her words always flowed like a dance with excellent grammer.
While Maria was dancing in Los Angeles, Serge operated the "Ballet Shop" selling Ballet shes, Toe shoes, Leotards, Dance Belts, Castanets, Wool Tights, Director Tights, Mesh Tights, Opera Hose, Finger Cymbals, also Ballet Books (new and rare edtions), Collectors items, Ballet Prints, Dance Sttuettes and Imported Ballet Novelties. The Ballet Shop was located at 6844 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA.
Maria Dare Style Adult Ballet:
The Ballet House was a studio for professional preparation from its beginning until the early 1970's. Then the tide turned. Sergei Dare died in 1967. Portland OR was changing, with families moving away from city center, shopping at malls, mom's becoming career women rather than kid transporters. The established studios such as The Ballet House, located in downtown Portland, began to see a decline in young student enrollments. Maria always taught to her students needs. By the late 1970's I returned to the Ballet House for a class to discover Maria's class was the same great class yet quite different. The evolution into a style of ballet especially good for the adult body had begun. By the 1990's The Ballet House had an all adult clientele, with few exceptions.
The greatest testament to the health of Maria Dare Style Ballet for Adults was Maria Dare herself. She never took an aerobics class. For the last decade, her total exercise regime consisted of demonstrating while teaching her classes, a special stretch just before she fell asleep at night and walking from home to studio to grocery store to home. May we all stand as tall, hold our legs outstretched for as long as Maria Dare did in this 1994 picture, when Maria was age 83. She continued to dance class demonstrations to the day of her death (age 86.) Maria's extension was at least a foot higher until a severe case of pneumonia sent her to the hospital for ten days. Never under-estimate the power of imobilization. While bed-rest cured her illness, she lost flexibility, from which she never fully recovered.
(Maria was not the only ballet dancer to have had the good fortune of a long dance life. As you read the brief bio's the world class masters and review the "When Then Was Now" timeline, note the life spans of the dancers.)
Maria was always to busy doing to stop and realize that she had created something grand. Her adult style ballet is a remarkable gift to us all.
Maria Dare Style Adult Ballet Is:
A form of circuit training.
Unique Pace and Timing geared for the adult body. Based on traditional ballet of the era of the grand waltz.
Very few stops for corrections, the combinations are selected to do the teaching.
More than a standard kids' class with adults in it.
An interesting mix of things you can count on to be in every class and some surprises to make the brain work as much as the body.
Non-performance oriented. The class is the performance.
90 minute class, with 40 minute barre to provide thorough warm-up of the full body. (35 min. barre for 75 min. class)
2 or more variations of same combination, permitting dancers to move across the floor together yet working their bodies at different levels.
It is not a competition against others. The battle is waged within, the self competing against itself.
The class is there, same place, same time, week after week, year after year. Something the adult frenzied mind and life can count on, to look forward to, to trust.
Most importantly, it's a place free from the stress of the daily routine. It is a place where dancers drag in, feeling the day would be best if one just stayed in bed, and leaving fired up to take on the world, saying "I feel better."
Above: mid 1990's maria rehearses Joe Lerma for Neptune's Ballet Classics. Maria is over 80 yrs old.
Below: Maria in back corner watches final rehearsal of Rozanne and Frank for Neptune's Ballet Classics. When we finished Maria said, "Well, that's not half bad." Frank and I jumped for joy. To Maria, most pros were good but not great. So being not half bad, was pretty good!
Maria top Left. Good guess: Charles Holt between Maria and Katherine (Benninghoff) Scott. According to Nancy Beth Falloon, danceron floor is "Ya Nez Nye -You? That's Russian for I don't know."
Please contact zandance if you can supply different names for these dancers.
Remember Our Roots
Maria was concerned that ballet was losing it’s roots. It took me a few years of observation to understand what she meant. This site shares information regarding the roots of ballet. While it preserves some memories, it fails to restore our roots. The roots are in the heart and soul of ballet. When I review the World Class Masters, I feel that spirit stir within me. I hope you will feel it stir within you.
About the Maria Dare
Maria was a good person with a dancing soul. She was a dancer, teacher and choreographer. She was born in Portland Oregon where she received her first dance training. As an adult she studied dance and performed in Los Angeles for a few years before returning to Portland. She and her husband, Sergei Dare, operated The Ballet House Portland. When Sergei died in 1967, Maria continued to teach and operate the studio alone. Maria studied dance, performed and taught throughout her life.
Who Was Maria Dare?
Maria (Boehme) Dare 1911-1997
We all knew The Ballet House guest seating area and dressing rooms had corners where walls connected to the floor - but we never saw them. There were stacks and stacks of something neatly arranged beneath dust cloths. When I needed a memory refresher about a dance, the easiest thing for me was to ask Maria. Out of the unlabeled stacks came her notes. She seemed to know exactly were everything was. None of us had a clue.
Maria's death was unexpected for we all assumed she was immortal. She left no direct heir, no one familiar with her dance world. There was a public sale at her studio that lasted only a few hours. We arrived to see "the stacks" spread out and they consumed the entire studio. We, her loyal students, and others, frantically grabbed this and that which had been rebundled for the sale in a way that would bring in the dollars but not perserve the integrity of the collection (Years were broken up, dance notes split off from music, etc.) In an effort to keep the collection together, several of her students, pooled their resources and purchased items for the Maria Dare Dance History Collection. We madly rushing about - one hand grabbing items for the group collection while the other hand grabbed items for personal use.
The collection was then split and stored at Portland Dance Academy, Portland OR and at Quest Ballet Academy Seaside Oregon. Over the years some students have added their private collections to the group collection, and the bulk of the collection has gravitated into the hands of Rozanne who continues to put the pieces back together in some useable format.
A Special Thanks to:
Julianne Byrine, Rozanne, Sherry Fleming, Sandy Fuchter, Patricia Hobizal, Joe Lerma Jr, JoAnne McLeod, Mary Jane Sposito, Janet Towner. Additional Contributions by JoAnne McLeod and Julianne Byrine.
Additional Thanks to:
Over the years JoAnne has done a great deal to organize and catalog contents.
Who has stored a portion of contents and provided historical information.
Nancy Beth Falloon:
For her efforts to identify photos and gather information..
Note to Former Students of Maria:
If you have dance notes from Maria's Estate Sale please contact Rozanne.
A memorial performance was held at the Imago Theatre in her honor. She would of loved the wonderful dancing that went on. At the end, we all joined together to do her reverence that we had done for decades, but this time we all knew we were doing it for the last time.
Maria Boehme Dare Bio: Early Years
Maria's Career Blossoms:
Maria taught briefly for the Volinoff School of Dance in Denver Colorado, as Maria Boemeva. This is suggested by a hand written music sheet for Mexican Handkerchief Dance. No date appears on the music sheet but other sheet music indicates the Volinoff School of Denver operated from 1934 to 1939. By Dec. 1940, The Ballet House was operating in Portland Oregon under the direction of Sergei Dare and Maria Boehme was a big part of it. She was a frequent performer in the Portland area, involved with the La Scala Opera in Feb. 1941. By 1943 Maria Boehme had established her dance reputation. The listing in Polk's Portland City Directory states, "Ballet House (Maria Boehme) dancing sch 918 SW Wash." A handwritten music sheet for El Abanico, dated 1944, states that is was for Spanish Dance with Fan and Castenets and taught at Ballet House by Maria Boehme. The music appears to be in Sergei's hand and has the initials "RDD" on it indicating that it was owned by him. (This particular copy of the music alson has "K. Benninghoff"on it, most likely indicating that it was her copy.) Another sheet of handwritten music with "RDD" titled "Holland Kiddie" states "Character Dance, for Maria Boehme" but unfortunately has no date. The Ballet House closed sometime after 1947, when Maria moved to Los Angeles to study dance. (It would re-open a few years later.)
While in Los Angeles (1948-March 1950) Maria studied ballet, pointe, Pas de deux, regularly from Eugene Loring, Mary Clare Sales, Viola Essen (a la Celli style), Margaret Westberg at the American School of Dance. There were classes with Bronslava Nijinski, Frederick Aston and Edward Caton. She also studied with the Casino Studio and improved her skills in Flamenco and Hindu dance. While there she performed on stage and in films. In 1949 she returned to Oregon briefly and taught in Eugene. During this period, Sergei Dare had a dance supply store in Hollywood. Maria and Sergei married in California.
Maria's father died in 1938. By 1949, it was clear that Maria's mother needed her. By 1951 Maria and Sergei had returned to Portland and re-opened The Ballet House, in the same location (The Selling Hirsh Bldg, 918 SW Washington St. Portland). The Ballet House remained on the top floor of the Selling Hirsch Building until the building was demolished in 1971. Maria moved the The Ballet House to its final location on SW 13th and Burnside a space that had once been used in 1963, to record the rock N roll hit, "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen. No pictures of Maria were displayed at either studio location. Maria's walls were reserved for those dancers she considered far greater than herself and for her students who she loved more than herself.
Maria (Boehme) Dare was an active supporter of the Katherine Scott School of Ballet in Eugene Oregon. Newspaper article in collection indicates that Maria taught classes in 1949 while on break from study in California. The Eugene Rigister Guard, May 20, 1951 has a full page spread about a performance being held there with Maria to be guest artist and states that Maria has been associated with the school during the past season. The performance included many numbers known to be in the Lindendare School repertorie.
In top left of this photo, hangs the picture of Maria in the Pink Tutu.
This article also states that Katherine Scott was a student of The Ballet House, and that Donald Dare was "one of the few surviving pupils of the famous Cecchetti of St. Petersburg," and that Cecchetti was "teacher of Pavlowa and other greats." The article highlights Mrs. Scott's training to include study with "sister of Nijinski, and with Leon Fokine, in ballet, and with Celli, Triana and Casino, in Spanish Dances." This seems to place Katherine Scott in Los Angeles about the same time as Maria was there.
Below: We, her Saturday morning students surprised Maria with a birthday party after class. We each did a little dance for her.
Above: Joan Smith's Birthday Party taken at Ballet Shop,
Maria began dance classes from a nearby teacher. The name of the teacher is unknown. Maria's family did not believe in dancing, but Maria could not understand how anything so beautiful could be wrong. I suspect Maria saw Mme. Elinova Linden in performance and wanted what she had. Maria was a student of the Lindendare School December 1930 - July 1935, for she kept notes on her classes and corrections given. Maria was a classmate of Marcelle Renoux. A newspaper clip notes that Maria Boehme and Marcelle Renoux were to perform on June 5th. (It is suspected that the year was 1931.) Maria was to perform a Scotch Toe Dance. At the Lindendare School classes in Castanets, Spanish dance, Folk, and Character were added to Maria's ballet schedule. There she was trained in Vagonova Technique, and learned choreography created by Anna Pavlowa. Her Instructors had also studied with several noted European Masters, including Checcitti, Karsavina, and Trefilova. The Lindendare school,under direction of Mme. Elinova and Sergei Dare, performed rigourously in the Portland area. The Lindendare School desolved along with the marriage of the owners.