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How do you explain Betsy Baytos without visuals?

Roy E. Disney Jr.

Eccentric dance, a precursor and still reminiscent in today's hip hop and break dancing, can help young people learn great control over their bodies and minds which leads to self esteem, pride, and self confidence. Eccentric dance, as visual comedy, is a universal language and one which gains respect from all who participate and observe.

Eccentric dance flourished in Vaudeville and made people laugh in very hard economic times. Our country is facing an economic crisis right now, and Betsy could be instrumental in bringing back laughter to a new generation and audience.

Betsy is a born teacher. I would love to see her teach the eccentric movement to dance teachers and students so they in turn can enlighten the world once again to Eccentric Dance.

Dr. Glorya Kaufman
Patron of Dance
The Glorya Kaufman Foundation

There is no culture on earth that does not dance. I have seen some of this thrilling footage.
Betsy, one of the most talented people I have known, has traveled to Europe and all over this country, gathering film and Interviews and she may well be the supreme authority on this sort of dance. It is a combination of dance and comedy, which everyone loves to watch.......you will too!

Steve Allen
Writer, Producer, Comedian

Thank you for the great, great choreography! You made our characters dance!

John Musker & Ron Clement
Directors of ‘Princess and the Frog’
Walt Disney Animation Studios

It is impossible to underestimate the importance of Eccentric dancing in the development of visual comedy from the commedia dell’ arte through silent movies to Monty Python and the crazier modern aspects of hip hop and break dancing. Everything worth knowing about Eccentric Dance can be found in the encyclopedic mind of Betsy Baytos. Somehow she has absorbed by choreographic osmosis, every twist and turn ever exercised in the cause of the art and her forthcoming film and master classes are eagerly awaited by all true connoisseurs.

John Fisher
Writer & Producer UK

Betsy Baytos is something of a national treasure for animators. Her knowledge of Eccentric and comedic dances (and dancers) from all over the world, coupled with her expert and inventive choreography, makes her a boon to animators, especially those of us who frequently animate to music. Her extensive and fascinating collection of film clips from long ago places and times is also an invaluable historical and inspirational treasure trove. The fact that Betsy actually was once a Disney animator herself, gives her the unique perspective of being able to understand what we need for practically any animation situation. Working with her on Disney’s ‘The Princess and the Frog’ was a joy, a marvel, and a hoot, and I can’t wait until we can work together again!

Eric Goldberg
Supervising Animator
Walt Disney Animation Studios

Betsy brings an unusual creative perspective to her teaching, through her expertise in Eccentric Dance, visual comedy and her years working as a Disney animator. As a guest lecturer for my Cal Arts stop motion performance class, Betsy screened vintage clips and instructed the students in rarely seen dance routines, inspiring my students how to apply exaggerated body language to create wonderful character movement. Betsy is a rare and unique talent.

Stephen Chiodo
The Chiodo Bros.

Betsy Baytos is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to the subjects of animation, dance, and more specifically, Eccentric Dance. Unlike most experts, however, she has worked and excelled in those fields and is considered a major talent as an artist, animator, choreographer and historian. Aside from being incredibly talented, Betsy is as enthusiastic as she is knowledgeable.
She has contributed in a variety of capacities to numerous projects here at Disney, most recently as the brilliant choreographer on the elegantly hand-drawn ‘Princess and the Frog’. There seems to be no limit to Betsy’s capacities, and anyone who has the good fortune and opportunity to work with her comes away singing her praises. I am a member of that choir.

Howard Green
Disney Animation Communications Vice President
Animation Communications, Walt Disney Studios

Like many show biz researchers, I’ve known Betsy Baytos for decades. Beyond the friendship that has developed with this positive-thinking, energetic and generous woman, I hold Betsy in deep professional respect as the foremost authority about Eccentric Dance anywhere. Over a period of many years, Betsy has managed to capture on film many famous exponents of the art. This film footage cannot be found elsewhere but in her extensive, rare archives. Her interests and knowledge encompass dance, visual comedy and feature animation. Betsy brings her performance skill and experience to the study of these fields. Her many credits include Walt Disney, The Muppet Show, live theater, and many personal appearances on platforms as diverse as those of academia and the grand old vaudeville stage and movie palaces.

Frank Cullen
Founder: American Vaudeville Museum (University of Arizona’s Special Collection: Tucson)
Author: Vaudeville, Old & New: An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America
(2007, Routledge Press)

Betsy Baytos is that unique combination of creative passion and technical know-how who comes along once in a generation. Her work on her Eccentric Dance documentary led her to me and the Vitaphone Project, and she has been mining long forgotten film clips and great performers ever since. Her unbridled enthusiasm for the subject has led her beyond the celluloid and directly into the families of the performers. And because it is clear Betsy is absolutely in her element on this project, those families have willingly opened up personal treasures including home movies and even notes on how some of the intricate ‘eccentric’ and ‘legmania’ specialties were performed. Betsy represents the ideal alignment of subject and producer, and I cannot wait to see the finished product.

Ron Hutchinson
Founder: The Vitaphone Project

Betsy Baytos has blended, fruitfully, several careers, which has allowed her to apply the knowledge and skills of a historian, and the experience and flair of a performer to her special interest in dance and, in particular, Eccentric Dance.
Betsy’s productive and fascinating research in the area of Eccentric Dance, and her redemptive work in the film restoration of the Fred Stone Collection, illuminated her memorable contribution to the Fred Astaire Conference held at Oriel College Oxford in June 2008.
In her diverting, but brilliantly cohesive compilation of dance routines, Betsy enabled her international audience to appreciate the traditional place in theater history of Eccentric Dance, as well as its continuing relevance and value.
As a student of ancient dance and its modern reception, I can testify that Eccentric Dance has roots in the gestural virtuosity and corporeal eloquence of Greco-Roman pantomime and flourishes today in such diverse genres as break dancing, hip hop and animation. Betsy has led the way in the exploration and exposition of this vibrant ongoing history.
All of those persons who care about the integrity of theater history, particularly the history of dance, and who revel in the diversity, are indebted to Betsy Baytos.

Dr. Kathleen Riley (DPhil Oxon)
Postdoctoral Research Associate of the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama
Oxford, England

A few years ago, Betsy Baytos suggested I view some of her research footage regarding the history of Eccentric Dance, and I had no idea what to expect. What I saw was so profound; it dramatically changed my outlook relating to animated movement. As animators, we are often asked to produce movement that looks natural and believable, but Eccentric Dance goes even further. It is inventive pantomime and entirely character driven. Here is a rare opportunity to study the same Vaudeville and Music Hall influences that inspired Walt Disney and so many other animators, in such a big way. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Betsy during Disney’s “Princess and the Frog’. Her entertaining choreography and unique walk cycles she provided for my Mama Odie character, was invaluable and indispensable to me.
Betsy’s historic research and knowledge are crucial to any animator today, teaching us to push farther and ‘dig a little deeper’ with our characters, in order to delight audiences in utterly unexpected ways.

Andreas Dejas
Supervising Animator
Walt Disney Animation Studios

Eccentric Dance is a multi-cultural art form that has been around for centuries but has rarely been understood or appreciated. Betsy Baytos has applied her extensive knowledge of the art form together with her background in animation, and has single-handedly changed all that. Thanks to her determination, she has recovered some very important screen footage and interviews that would have otherwise been long forgotten. However, instead of simply, lovingly restoring and archiving that incredibly fascinating material, she is creating a film project which will make it available to those destined to apply this knowledge gained, for the express purpose of benefitting the movement of characters (both real and animated) in movies and other forms of entertainment around the world. Betsy is indeed a legend in her own lifetime.

Malcolm Cockren
Great Entertainment UK

In dance, Classical ballet gives us grace: Eccentric Dance brings us humor and wit; and no one in the world is a greater scholar and performer of Eccentric Dance, than Betsy Baytos.
Betsy has chronicled this style of comedic angles and twists, once flourishing in our English Music Halls, Vaudeville Theatres, and Musical Comedy, and demonstrated how its unique forms can inspire today’s dancers, animators and players. Her films, an invaluable resource for generations to come, are to be enjoyed and Betsy, treasured.

Miles Kreuger
The Institute of the American Musical, Inc.

" I love watching Eccentric Dance, and Betsy Baytos is keeping this great tradition alive, not only in her research, interviews and film clips, but by mentoring young people who want to learn it--by teaching them how to incorporate its extraordinary 'body English' into their work, whether film, animation or dance. Bravo Betsy!!!"

Leonard Maltin
Film Critic/Historian