This article is an attempt to place Adolph Bolm’s ballet, The Spirit of the Factory, staged at the Hollywood Bowl with a cast of sixty dancers into the context of the choreographer’s oeuvre and explain how an avant-garde ballet, danced to dissonant accompaniment, could have been so well received by American audiences in the 1930s. A “neo-constructivist” work that was uniquely Hollywood in its inception, with a dual connection to film and the particular atmosphere of the resplendent outdoor Hollywood Bowl, how such a work came to be raises many questions about the sources that inspired Bolm.
Cyril W. Beaumont, Complete Book of Ballets (New York: Garden City Publishing Company, 1941), cited in Naima Prevots, Dancing in the Sun: Hollywood Choreographers 1915-1937, (Ann Arbor: umi Research Press, 1987), pg. 168. The authors would like to thank Naima Prevots for comments on an earlier draft of this essay.
Lesley-Anne Sayers, “Sergei Diaghilev’s ‘Soviet’ Ballet: Le Pas d’Acier and Its Relationship to Russian Constructivism,”Experiment, Volume 2 (Charles Schlacks, Jr., Publisher: Los Angeles, 1996), pg. 111.