Maria Dare Dance History Collection
"Remember Our Roots"

Early Dance Studios of Portland OR


“The Roaring 20s”

In 1920, Polk’s City Directory for Portland listed 15 dance schools, academies, halls.  It is unknown how many provided “stage dancing” and how many were focused on ballroom dancing.  By 1924, there were 11 listings and in 1928 there were 20.  Most of these operated out of studios or ballrooms.  In addition, there were dancers teaching out of their homes.  The YMCA offered classes in some type of dancing.  Studios listed in the Directory came and went.  The only 3 to endure the decade (listed 1920, 1924, 1928) were Alys Mae Brown, Christenson’s Hall & Dancing School, and Marie Gammie.
Sept. issue of American Dancer Magazine had one listing for Portland,  Alys May Brown School of Dancing.  She provided instruction in Ballet, Acrobatic, Adagio and all branches of stage dancing.  Alys May Brown ads continued thru 1930.  The Oct. issue had a photo captioned “A group of Portland dancers frolic outdoors.  Scene from, a pageant.  It seems clear that “stage dancing” was taking root along side the Charleston.
April issue of The Dance Magazine appears to have listed one studio for Portland.  It was probably the Lindendare School as it was cut out of the page.  The Barbara Barnes School was listed for Salem.  In addition to the studio ads listed in the directory, an article, “Studios of the West,” mentioned Lindendare and Barns.  According to the article, Barbara Barns arrived Salem in 1928 from Chicago where she had studied under Edna L. McRae.

Lindendare School of the Dance

Portland, Oregon (1928-1934)
The Lindendare School of Portland Oregon was, as the name reflects, the joining of 2 teachers, Einova (Elin) Linden and Sergei (Roy D.) Dare.  Elin’s forte was Spanish Dance.  She also taught ballet and probably acrobatics. Serge taught Character Dance classes and amazing ballet classes for advanced students.
Elin was born in Oslo, Norway, immigrated with her mother in 1908.  Her mother, Wilhelmina Linden, was living in Portland in 1924.  In 1921, Elin married Serge (Roy D.) in Indiana.  Serge was born in Sandwick IL and studied dance in Chicago and Europe.
The Lindendare School probably began in 1928.  A program dated June 1929 listed 36 students in mostly Spanish and Character dances.  Based on number of dances performed, the school had about 9 advanced dancers of which 3 had solos.  These students either transferred from other studios, or Elin had been teaching at another studio prior to forming Lindendare School.  Elin carried the show with 6 solos:  White Peacock, Tyrolese, Gavotte, Spanish Dance; El Toreador, Lorelei.  The program gave credit to Thomas (probably Thamar) Karssavina of London for the dances Tyrolese, Lorelei, and Spanish Dance.  It also stated that Elin’s Gavotte was arranged for her by Vera Trefilove of Paris.
Lindendare doors opened in time for the stock market crash 1929.  Elin & Serge persevered.  They had an ad and mentioned in “Studios of the West,” article in The Dance Magazine, April 1930 issue.  This article noted that Elisa Cansino would be guest teacher for their summer school and “Since Mme. Linden Dare has returned from her trip abroad, where she studied with Mmes. Karsavina and Trefilova and Leo Staats, the school has been growing steadily.” 
A local news clip,”Solo Creations To Be Introduced At Dance Recital” was probably from 1931.  This recital had 36 dances, including a Bride’s Ballet “featuring Mme. Linden-Dare & 21 dancers in an arrangement created by Anna Pavlova”  an Arabian Phantasy, “unusual modern studies,” a Sevilliam ballet,“study in geometric design danced by boys’ class,” solos, and “junior class in Indian, Mexican, Dutch and other character dances”
Sch Aids Campaign

Dancer Names

& number of dances performed.
Bob Irwin 1
Dora Day, 1
Doris Ehrsham 1
Esther Davis,  2+ solo
Ida Woodham 1
Jean Hoover, 1
Juanita Powell, 2+ solo
Marcelle Renoux, 1+ solo
Marie Boehme 2+ solo
Norma Nielsen 1+ solo
Malvina Feldstein, 1+ solo)
Roberta Jamerson solo
11 and 12 year old girls;
Unfortunately “Dancing School Aids Campaign” is undated for it was clipped from the newspaper.  Mr. Dare had adopted his stage name, “Serge Volinoff & Elin had become Elinova. Two dancers listed would become leading teachers of Portland.  Maria Boehme performed "Eccosaises," a Scotch toe dance, and "Alma Andaluza," a Spanish duet with Bob Irwin.  Marcelle Renoux performed the Mexican Dance.  Both Maria Boehme & Marcelle Renoux were members of the ensemble dancing "Flor Flamenco.”  In 1950s &1960s, Portland had many dance teachers.  Of those, the top 5 studios were Billings (ballroom), Ballet House, Renoux,, Schumacher & Vasilieff. .  Maria (Boehme) Dare was the Ballet House.  Marcelle Renoux’s studio was a few blocks away.  Thus 2 women who once shared Lindendare dance floors became major contributors to Portland, Oregon’s performing arts.  I is difficult to say just how many dance teachers were spawned by Elinova Linden, Marcelle Renoux, Maria & Serge Dare.

1933 Lindendare Class Announcement

featured Mme. Elinova classes in “Spanish Dancing which includes the correct use of castanets, cymbals, capes, shawls, and tambourines: Flamenca and tango.”  Ballet, toe, character and acrobatics seems to be a second priority.  There is no mention of Serge Volinoff/Dare.
1934 found USA trying to crawl from the Great Depression, and Serge Volinoff (R.D.Dare) living in Denver Colorado.  Elinova (Elin Linden-Dare) performed under the “exclusive management of Serge Vollinoff,” and taught at a summer session for his dance school.  It is unclear if the couple intended to relocate to Denver, operate 2 studios, or go their separate ways.  What is clear is that the couple eventually divorced. Serge stayed in Denver thru 1938 operating the Serge Volinoff Dancing Academy.  Maria Boehme was his guest teacher at least once.  In 1940, Serge returned to Portland, Oregon and opened The Ballet House.

Renoux Dance Studio,

was part of the Lindendare legacy, and a distinguished part of Portland's artistic community for over 50 years. By 1960, it was one of the top 5 studios in Portland.  The studio was one of the most spacious, located on corner of Burnside, across from Powell's Bookstore.  The studio was started by Miss Marcelle Renoux.  She studied with the Lindendare School and others.  Many of her students went on to seek professional careers.  Debra Messenger, of Portland’s Messenger Dance School, studied with Miss Renoux.
When Miss Renoux died, the studio was turned over to the dedicated hands of Christina Hintz. Christina began her training with Miss Renoux, traveled to Canada for advanced study under dancers from the National Ballet of Canada, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Royal Ballet of England. Christina Hintz operated Renoux School of Dance for decades.

Nicholas Vasilieff School of Dance,

The school began in 1940.  By 1960, he was one of the top 5 in Portland. His style resembled the Italian style, producing strong quick jumpers. The book: Nicholas Vasilieff Collection 1943 shares information.

Wm. F. Christensen

Christensen’s Halls and Dance School was listed in Polk’s Portland City Directory in 1920, 1924, & 1928..  Sep. 1927 issue of The American Dancer Magazine listed Christensen School of Dancing in Seattle WA.”where ballroom dancing is properly taught.”  William F. Christensen School of Ballet operated in Portland from 1932-1937.  William then moved to San Francisco and linked up with the  San Francisco Opera Ballet that Adolph Bolm started in 1933.  In 1937, William Christensen became Ballet Master of the San Francisco Opera Ballet. It seems Leah Elizabeth Tholl took over Christensen’s school.  One of Christensen’s San Francisco Ballet students, Jacqueline Schumacher moved to Portland.  By 1960, the Schumacher School of Dance was one of the top 5 in Portland.  John Gardner studied with Schumacher.  After dancing with ABT and in Europe he returned to Portland to teach and had his own company.
Revised:  April 2022
Page by Rozanne of Zandance