Betty’s love of dance carried all the way through to her high school graduation. She even planned to move to New York and continue studying her art. However, her mother, Hortense, refused to allow that. She enrolled at her daughter Vermont’s Bennington School of Dance for a couple of summers instead. There, though, the future First Lady met choreographer Martha Graham, who would later accept her as a student in the Big Apple.
In order to fund the dance training, Betty got a job with the John Robert Powers modeling agency. Eventually, all of her studying and hard work paid off. She finally joined Graham’s company and even performed with them at New York’s Carnegie Hall. And yet, her mother still disapproved of her career choice.
Hortense wanted Betty to come home so badly, in fact, that the pair came up with a compromise. And it was this: Betty would come home for half a year. Then, at the end of those six months, she could go back to New York if she still wanted to. The worried mom would then no longer protest her daughter’s career path.