BY MARY HELEN DARAH
Marie Bollinger Vogt founded the Toledo Ballet in 1939. With great passion and persistence, she brought quality dance to the community as well as internationally acclaimed dancers to grace local stages. Vogt also introduced the holiday classic, “The Nutcracker,” to the stage in 1941 at the start of World War II. Subsequently, the Toledo Ballet boasts the longest running production in the country and celebrated its 75th anniversary performance in 2015. Vogt has choreographed hundreds of ballets for dancers through multiple generations. She remains involved with the Toledo Ballet after stepping down as its director in 1995. In the ninth decade of her life, we find this Sylvanian you need to know striving to reach higher beyond the barre.
Vogt has always enjoyed creating, and as of late, you may find her hand-painted cards in a boutique in Arizona. “I do not have a venue in Sylvania—yet,” says Vogt. “I have always enjoyed art. I recall in my elementary mathematics class, I would embellish the side of the paper with art before handing it in. My nephew is a sculptor and uses objects such as pipes, wood and copper wire in his work. He has pieces for sale at the boutique in Arizona and showed my watercolor cards to the proprietor. She wanted them all! I have also done large paintings that people have purchased for their husbands’ law offices.”
Vogt recently returned from Arizona and will soon be heading to Aruba. “In years past I took the youngsters there,” recalls Vogt. “The first thing I do is order a yellow bird (local beverage) and feel the breezes.” Vogt enjoyed traveling with her beloved late husband, Ted. The duo visited Tiananmen Square in China before the upheaval and 20 other countries around the globe. She was unable to pick a favorite but found Egypt to be most memorable.“I was taken on a tour where there were vendors with apparel on clotheslines,” stated Vogt. “Of course the dress with sequins appealed to me.I was about to buy it when our guide took the dress and yelled at the vendor for overcharging me.I ended up getting quite a deal on that dress. I have worn it to every last night curtain call since.”
Food Glorious Food
Vogt also loves to entertain and cook in her home. “Bob Bell of the Toledo Symphony, asked me to host a dinner including a visiting violinist from Russia. Of course I made stroganoff and piroshky. At the end of the party, there was only one person sitting at the table–the Russian violinist. Now there are not so many people in my circles butI entertain the ‘big wigs’ from the Museum. I make Caesar salad with white anchovies, chili and cornbread.”
Advice From a Seasoned Lover of Life
“Do what you love to do when you want to do it,” advises Vogt. “Last night I decided at 2 a.m. that I wanted to sketch yellow birds. Do what makes you happy and stay inspired by all that is around you.”