Created by RainyRainDrop on Mar 8, 2011
Last updated: 03/25/11 at 12:26 AM
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The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Bettis a fellowship to adapt for dance W. H. Hudson's novel Green Mansions. Unfortunately, Valerie Bettis ended up passing away while she was preparing the work for the Omega Liturgical Dance Company. Bettis died on September 26, 1982 at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan. Her remains ended up being cremated there in Manhattan (New York City). She was 62 years old at the time of her death.
After many years of dancing and choreographing for a variety of sources of entertainment (film, theatre, television, dance companies, etc.), Valerie Bettis's career began to slow down in 1959. However, she still accomplished some rather great achievements. In 1964, Bettis started the Dance Studio Foundation in New York "for dancers who act and actors who dance." And in 1969, the studio produced a new performance group, the Valerie Bettis Theater/Dance Company, which continued presenting her works into the mid-1970s. Bettis was also able to see major revival of her work “A Streetcar Named Desire” by The Dance Theatre of Harlem during the same year that she died.
During the 1950's, Valerie Bettis began branching out to other forms of entertainment besides dance. She ended up creating many choreographs for television, film, and theatre. Some examples of Bettis's choreography for films include the dances that Rita Hayworth's danced to in the 1952 movie, Affair in Trinidad. As for television, Bettis had acting roles in several television dramas. And in 1955, she ended up replacing Lotte Lenya in the lead role in Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera.
In 1947, Valerie Bettis's blooming career as a dancer and choreographer expanded to new areas. Bettis became the first modern dance choreographer to work with a major ballet company. However, she found little success from working with other dance companies besides her own. Such as her production of the Virginia Sampler by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as well as attempting to unite ballet with the spoken word. Bettis finally found success in 1952 when she choreographed a ballet based on the Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire. This piece would also end up being one of Valerie Bettis's well-known works, along with The Desperate Heart.
Valerie Bettis's other interests during her youth years later joined her dancing and choreography careers as she tried her hand at musical comedies. Beginning with Glad to See You in 1944, Bettis ended up choreographing and performing in musical theatre. She also performed in Inside U.S.A., a revue that ended up running for nearly 400 performances at the New Century Theatre and the Majestic Theatre. Her performance in Inside U.S.A. also won her a Theatre World Award. Valerie Bettis was once again praised for her performance in the 1950 revue Bless You All by Life magazine both for her dancing and for her singing abilities.
In 1943, Bettis married her company's music director, Bernardo Segall. He was the one commissioned the music for her piece in The Desperate Heart that she performed in, which was also the same year that she ended up marrying him. However, they ended up divorcing in 1955, the same year that she performed in Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera. Bettis later ended up remarrying to a man named Arthur A. Schmidt in 1959 till his death in 1969. During the time she was with and study under Hanya Holm, Valerie Bettis was also able to study with Nanette Charisse and Aubrey Hitchins.
In 1941, after leaving the Hanya Holm and Dance Group, Valerie Bettis formed and directed her own modern dance ensemble and began her career as a solo dancer. Bettis ended up achieving early success as a solo dancer from The Desperate Heart in 1943. The Desperate Heart was inspired by John Malcolm Brinnin's poem of the same title. Her solo dance in the performance was highly praised by critics, receiving compliments such as one of the "the most outstanding performances of 1943" from New York Times dance critic John Martin. The Desperate Heart would also come to be known as one of Valerie Bettis's best-known pieces.
Valerie "Elizabeth" Bettis was an American modern dancer and choreographer that ended up finding success in many forms of entertainment. Such as musical theatre, modern, ballet, and as a solo dancer and choreographer. Valerie Bettis was well-known for her "versatility, vivid stage presence, and flamboyant theatricality." She also seemed to be quite the chatter-box since she is warned that if she "is not careful she will talk us all to death" according to a mixed reviews she received for her choreography and performance in Domino Furioso. Valerie Bettis is also cited as the first modern dance choreographer to set a work on a major ballet company.
After high school, Valerie Bettis attended the University of Texas. However, she ended up attending the University for only a year before she moved to New York City in 1937. Bettis moved to New York in order to study under fellow modern choreographer and dancer, Hanya Holm. She ended up performing with Hanya Holm and Dance Group from 1937 to 1940 and was even able to perform in Holm's landmark work "Trend". After her tour with Holm, Bettis broke off from the group in order to begin her own modern dance group.
Valerie Bettis was born either on December 19 or December 20, 1919 in Houston, Texas. Her mother and father were Royal Holt Bettis and Valerie Elizabeth Bettis (McCarthy). Bettis dance experience began to develop during her childhood years at the age of 10 when she began ballet lessons with Rowena Smith.She also received training in Wigman modern dance technique during her youth in Houston. Bettis was also interested in drama, performing in dramatic and musical productions when she was in high school.