This page follows the descendants of the Lindendare Studio of Portland Oregon that began in the late 1920's, and descended through The Ballet House and the Renoux Studio. Lindendare (Elin Linden and Serge Dare) had their roots in Chicago, but studied with Masters in Europe. Their style was grand jumps and turns.
Sergei Dare Bio (aka: Sergei Volinoff, RD Dare, Donald Dare)
Sergei had a great influence of the shape and scope of dance in Portland Oregon. His teaching spanned decades as well as two reputable studios. His life span is significant. He was 3 years old when Vaslav Nijinsky was born. He lived through most of the history ballet, when they were current events.
A mystery man outside the dance class, he seems to have only existed for the dance. Finding records is complicated for he had many stage names. He was Serge, Sergei Volinoff, Sergei Dare, R.D. Dare, Roy Dare, Donald Dare. Before and after classes he told amazing stories about the dance, so amazing that each listener at some point wondered silently, "Are you making this up?" Rumors spread every decade or two that Sergei had Anna Pavlowa's death mask in his possession yet no one ever saw it. (I can assure you, it has finally been confirmed, the death mask was in Sergei's possession at one time.)
I knew Sergei during the last seven years of his life. He taught amazing classes, the best I have ever encountered. At the end of his teaching career, he was in a wheel chair and he still taught amazing classes. He knew amazing world class dancers. They used The Ballet House as their home away from home when on tour in Portland.
What is known is that he was born June 9, 1887 in Illinois to parents who were born in USA. He married Elin Linden in 1921. He and Elin opened the Lindendare School of Dance in Portland by 1929. It operated until at least 1935, but 1934-1939 he was involved in dance activities in Denver Colorado as the Volinoff School of Dance. In May 1934 Sergei promoted a performance of Mme Elinova followed by a 3 week summer workshop in June 1934, Denver Colorado. Sergei taught at Lindendare in Portland Spring 1935. By 1936 he was the "Sergei Volinoff School of Dance" in Denver Colorado and living in Denver. He was briefly the "Sergei Volinoff Schol of Dance in Seattle Washington." The date for Seattle School remains unknown.
In the early 1940's he operated The Ballet House in Portland Oregon. Feb. 1941 he was active with La Scala Opera of Portland OR. (He seemed to have gotten swept away with the La Scala fantasy for he was listed as Donald Dare of La Scala, Milan. No wonder some wondered if his stories were true, or did he visit Milan and become inspired?) In Dec. 1941 The Ballet Club Theatre presented a program of dance at The Ballet House Studio, 918 SW Washington Street, Portland OR. Ballet House summer workshop notes have been found for 1941-1946. In Jan. 1943, Portland's Music Club presented a program that credits "Ballet Courtesy of Ballet House, R. Donald Dare Director, Maria Boehme, Soloist, Katherine Benninghoff, Georgia Andrews, Caroliena Wade, Marian Kropp, dancers." In the late 1940's he operated a dance supply shop in Los Angeles. He married Maria Boehme and returned to Portland OR. From 1950 until his death in 1967, he and Maria operated The Ballet House of Portland together.
Sergei's notes and handwritten music sheets are clear and concise. They suggest a man with an eye for detail and excellent knowledge of complex classical music. How and when did he hear the music that he recorded onto the paper sheets? Where and when did the events occur that inspired his amazing stories of the greats? (I must pointe out that while all of Sergei's fantastic stories placed him in the room with a great, his story was never about himself and never linked to a time and place. The purpose of his stories was educate his students about the magic dance and its masters.)
In the 1990's, after class, Maria and I would recouperate with coffee, crackers and cheese, or coffee and cookies before leaving her studio. I once commented that a pointe combination injected into the class seemed a different style than usual. She replied that Sergei had gotten it from Cecchetti. I said, "Sergei studied with Cecchetti?" She replied, "Yes." I asked "When?" Maria replied, "When he was in Europe." I asked, "When was he in Europe?" Maria replied, "Oh he did that. He would find a teacher with whom he wanted to study and he'd just pick up and go." This remains the primary clue to how, when, and where behind Sergei's fabulous tales.
What cannot be found about Sergei may be as revealing as what can be found. I have been unable to locate him in US Federal Census Records 1900, 1910, 1920. Is he there (somewhere)under a different name, or was he out of country? What can be documented is that he was born in 1887, making him the same general age Anna Pavlowa (b. 1885) Tamara Karsavina (b. 1885) and Vaslov Nijinski (b. 1890). He was at the headwaters of ballet as we know it; the famous Maryinsky Theatre was born in 1886. Sergei's prime dancing years would have been age 14-30, 1901-1917. He was 34 years old when he married Mme. Elinova Linden. He was 49 when he was the Sergei Volinoff School of Dance in Denver Colorado. Sergei was about 54 yrs. old when he opened The Ballet House in 1941. He was in his late 50's when he married Maria Boehme. He was in his early 60's when the Ballet House was re-opened in Portland; he was 73 when I first took those wonderful classes from him and age 82 when he died.
He left behind a legacy of dance class and music notes that have, unfortunately, been disassembled. The legace he left in the inspired hearts of his students has spread with the winds in a very good way. If Sergei's life offers a message it is this. Anyone from anywhere can become and overcome by doing what is most loved. Want to learn something from someone? "Just pick-up and go."
Born about 1900 in Norway as Elin Linden. It is suspected that she was born in Oslo Norway, for her mother, Wilhemina Linden, was born there and Wilhemina visited her brother who lived in Oslo during the 1920's. Elin and her family immigrated, arriving in USA about 1908. By 1920, Elin was living in Elmhurst, DuPage, Illinois, with her mother Welhelmina, and younger brother Carl Linden, born about 1908. Elin married Sergei Dare about 1921. By 1929 they had moved to Portland Oregon and had opened the Lindendare School.
Elin Linden Dare can be found on the Lapland Passenger Ship List returning from Cherbourg, France to New York, continuing to Canada on Jan. 27, 1929. At the time she was living at 655 E Madison St. Portland Oregon. She is traveling with several singles from various places, suggesting a dance tour rather than a family vacation. It is suspected that Elinova and Sergei took turns teaching. One would teach in Portland while the other would dance, study, or teach in far away places.
Little is known of Elinova after she and Sergei split up, other than she continued to dance, and seems to have remained on professionally friendly terms with Sergei. The La Scala Opera program of 1941 lists her appearing as "Guest artiste of Ballet Natasche Elinova." Her name follows "Donald Dare," and Maria Boehme. A former student states that Elin married a Mr. Gilbert and moved to Seattle, WA.
Below: Click News clips for transcription, Bride's Ballet, and White Peacock Dance.
School of Dance:
Portland Oregon ballet roots can be traced to the 1920's. The Lindendare School was in operation. (There were other ballet teachers in Portland at that time.) The Maria Dare Dance History Collection Contents reveals the following information:
Lindendare School opened in Portland Oregon on or before 1929 and operated until 1935 or after. The June 15, 1929 program lists a number of dances and dancers. It would have been difficult to pull this together in just 6 months so most likely the school began on or before 1928.
Classes were conducted by Elinova Linden and Sergei Volinoff, (Mr. and Mrs. R D Dare). A 1929 program from the Lindendare School included dances arranged for Elinova Linden by Karsavina and Trefilova. These dances among others became the basic repertoire of The Lindendare School, and then The Ballet House, being taught to generations of Portland dance students.
The 1929 program notes that the studio was located 207 Park Street in Portland. The recital was held at Little Theatre, (Studio Bldg.) W. Park and Taylor.
In 1933, according to an ad for Summer School, Mme. Elinova of the Lindendare School of dance, was conducting classes. There is no mention of Sergei. (Was he not there or was his classes full?) Classes were held at the W.O.W. building, located at 425 E Alder at 6th, in Portland, and offered "beautiful classrooms, steam heat dressing rooms with showers." This location was within walking distance of Maria Boehme's home. Val Ballestrem, Education Manager, Bosco-Milligan Foundation/Architectural Heritage Center, Portland Oregon, emailed me "That building is still around today as the Melody Ballroom. 615 SE Alder is the current address (addresses were changed in the 1930s). Here is a link to more information: http://www.themelodyballroom.org/about/historic-summary " This link provides a lot of info about the building and pictures. It has been the home of several dance studios over the decades. Today, Oregon Ballet Theatre is located at 818 SE 6th, just a couple blocks away.
A newspaper clip "Dancing School Aids Campaign" with estimated date unknown includes Maria Boehme and Marcelle Renoux as performers of the Lindendare School of Dance. Maria performed a solo "Ecconaises a Scotch toe dance. " She also performed a Spanish Duet with Bob Irwin, "Alma Andaluza. Miss Renoux performed a solo "Mexican Dance, the national dance of Mexico. " "Flor Flamenco, a typical Spanish dance" was performed by Esther Davis, Juanita Powell, Ida Woodham, Norma Neilsen, Malvina Feldstein, Marcelle Renoux and Maria Boehme. (Notes for many of the dances listed in this news clip are in the Maria Dare Dance History Collection."
By 1960 most dance advocates stated that Portland had five big reputatable dance studios. Two of the five were The Ballet House (Maria and Sergei Dare) and the Renoux Dance Studio (Marcelle Renoux). Thus the legacy of the Lindendare School was passed on in Portland through two major schools of dance for decades.
The Renoux Dance Studio, was a distinguished part of Portland's artistic community for over 50 years. It was one of the most spacious and well equipped studios located 316 SW 11th, Portland Oregon (on corner of Burnside, across from Powell's Bookstore.) It was forced to move a few years ago.
Over the years, Renoux students were awarded scholarships and studied at the Harkness Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet School, and Summer Dance Labs sponsored by First Chamber Dance Company.
The studio was started by Miss Marcelle Renoux She studied with the Lindendare School as well as others. Upon the death of Miss Renoux, the studio was turned over to the dedicated hands of Christina Hintz.
began her training in Portland under Marcelle Renoux. After initial training, she traveled to Canada for advanced study under dancers from the National Ballet of Canada, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Royal Ballet of England. In addition to extensive performing experience, she has decades of teaching experience and the advantage of a strong academic background in dance education, administration, anatomy and kinesiology. As a firm believer in continuing education, has always attended as many professional workshops and master classes as she could. The Renoux Dance Studio was host to many great master classes and workshops over the years.
Christina Hintz, finally semi-retired, closing the Renoux Dance Studio, but continues to teach at other studios.
The Ballet House began under the direction of Sergei Volinoff (R. Donald Dare) upon his return to Portland Oregon. (From where? Perhaps Denver Colorado, or Seattle Washington, or...) It offered the same content as The Lindendare School. By 1941 the school was actively performing as demonstrated in the following programs.
The Ballet House closed when Maria and Sergei moved to Hollywood where Maria studied dance, performed in film and early television shows. Sergei opened the Ballet Shop, a dance supply store.
The Ballet House 1950-1974
The Ballet House reopened in Portland Oregon 1950 or before , under the ownership of the husband and wife team, Maria and Sergei Dare. Rebuilding the studio was slow and difficult. After five months they had three students. They Persevered. The Ballet House was located on the 2nd floor of the Selling Hirsh Building on SW Washington near 10th (downtown Portland OR). By 1953, The Ballet House had moved to the top floor of the same building.
By 1960, The Ballet House was a leading professional preparation school, located on the top floor of the Selling Hirsh Building. Sergei died in 1967. Maria continued to teach and operate the studio by herself. During these years the studio hosted many amazing master classes from gifted teachers such as George Zoritch and Michel Somes. It served as a private rehearsal studio for Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev while they were on tour in Portland. Robert Joffrey conducted auditions as well as the Bolshoi Ballet.
The Ballet House 1974-1997
When the Selling Hirsh building was demolished, Maria moved The Ballet House to the corner of Burnside and SW 13th - still on the top floor. The transition from professional preparation to adult ballet had begun before the move. In the new location adult ballet evolved until 99% of her students were over age 21. Maria Vegh was one of the last to conduct a week long intensive workshop there for dancers from many dance studios.