Beloved dance teacher celebrates 90th birthday with surprise parade


AVOCA, Wis. — Over 100 cars filled with well wishers made their way to Betty Hayes-Baxter’s home to surprise the 90-year-old with a birthday parade Friday evening.

Hayes-Baxter has been teaching dance for over 70 years and is well known in the Iowa County area for her tap and pointe lessons.

Those who know her well said Miss Betty — even at 90 — has an incredible work ethic.

Former student and current instructor at the Betty Hayes Dance School Mary Rundhaug said she’s constantly learning from Miss Betty. 

“She’s honestly just like the most amazing women ever,” she added. “She always go-go-go.”

In her 73 years of teaching dance this year will be the first time Hayes-Baxter cancels her annual dance recital because of COVID-19.

Having taught several generations of young dancers many of the parade’s participants were Miss Betty’s students–both past and present–and their families.

The parade of cars lasted for nearly an hour with people offering gifts and even little dance numbers for the birthday girl.