Congratulations to Betty Lawrence who has become an Honorary Member of the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing.
Betty and her husband Matt emigrated from Ayr to North America in 1964. They returned to Ayr in January 2011.
In 1965, Betty became Dance Director for the Kiltie Band of Oklahoma City, and thus began her long, successful career in the United States. World Champion Mary Beth Miller, credits Betty with establishing Highland in the Kansas City area. Over the years, Betty coached many United States Champions and prepared numerous teachers and judges for their professional exams. She was the most sought after workshop instructor in the country. Betty led workshops at the Balmoral School in Houston for many years. She was the head instructor at the Ohio Workshop in Oberlin for more than 25 years. She followed Mrs. Haggarty as instructor at Grandfather Mountain’s School of Scottish Arts until the school ended, and was invited to return the first year that the School started up again. Betty also taught regularly at Denver, Salt Lake City, Portland, Petaluma, and Raleigh. Generations of dancers and teachers became her family.
Betty had a magical way of getting dancers to do more than they thought possible. The dynamics she created in a class or private lesson built trust and enabled dancers to tackle the impossible and succeed. She is the gifted natural teacher who could truly teach a stick to do a good Highland Fling. Betty also had a special way of connecting with dancers – who must have sensed her love of Highland Dance and absolute commitment to it. Every year at the USIR and when she was at Cowal for the Worlds, dancers who had worked with her clamored for a few minutes of Mrs. Lawrence’s attention.
Betty was the 2nd person in the United States to become a Fellow Examiner of the BATD. She is also an Emeritus Member of the SDTA and a retired member of the SOBHD Judges’ Panel.
Betty was an active FUSTA member and headed up the USIR Scrutineering Team for years. She also helped create the Scrutineering Certification Program for FUSTA.
FUSTA recognized Mrs. Lawrence’s immense contribution to Highland Dance by making her one of the first inductees into the FUSTA Hall of Fame in 2006.
Text provided by Sharon Farrar, FUSTA Secretary