Valerie Bettis


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(b Houston, 20 Dec. 1919; d New York, 26 Sept. 1982)

US dancer, choreographer, company director, and educator. She studied with Hanya Holm in New York, and her later ballet studies were with Carmelita Maracci. She danced with Hanya Holm's company (1937–40) and appeared as a soloist (1941–8) performing her own work. In 1964 she founded the Dance Studio Foundation and the Valerie Bettis Dance/Theater Company, which she ran for several decades in New York. Many of the works she choreographed were solos for herself; her best-known was The Desperate Heart (1943), accompanied by a poem by John Malcolm Brinin. In 1947 she choreographed Virginia Sampler for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, while her most successful ballet was A Streetcar Named Desire (mus. Alex North) which she choreographed for the Slavenska-Franklin Ballet in 1952. In 1954 it was taken into the repertoire of American Ballet Theatre, in 1974 by the National Ballet of Washington, and in 1986 by Dance Theatre of Harlem. She taught for many years at her New York studio, and was also considered a pioneer in television dance, making several programmes during the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1950s she went to Hollywood, appearing in several films as an actress. She choreographed Broadway shows and frequently appeared on stage as actress and singer.

Subjects: Dance.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.