Renee Stone, founder of the pin-up dance group the Diamond Bettys talks troupe dynamics, Viva Las Vegas, and divas.
Q: While you were born in Texas, the Diamond Bettys were actually born in Los Angeles, California. Can you tell us a little about the inception of the troupe from concept to first performance?
I am originally from Texas but lived in Los Angeles for 7 years as a professional dancer and performer. After dancing in several dance troupes around Los Angeles, I decided to start my own troupe but wanted to do something different then any dance troupe that was out there at the time. So I took my love for pin up girls and dancing and started The Diamond Bettys.
Q: I’ve had the pleasure of seeing you perform and was astounded by the dance ability and solid choreography of the troupe. This isn’t a “let’s see if we can wear a dance hat and increase our bookings” kind of production. Do you ever have trouble trying to explain to folks what the Diamond Bettys are? You’re not “just” pin-up models, and you’re not burlesque. How do you explain the troupe to folks?
Yes! I have a lot of trouble trying to explain to folks what The Diamond Bettys are! You kind of have to see our show to understand what we do. That’s how we got to perform at Viva Rockabilly Weekender in Las Vegas the first time. I remember asking Tom Ingram the first time about booking the Diamond Bettys explaining that we were a Pin Up Doll dance troupe and he literally laughed at me. So the next big show we had in LA I begged him to come watch the show and he did…. he booked us for Viva 2 days later.
My best explanation of who The Diamond Bettys are is that we are a high energy pin-up doll performance group consisting of tapping, dancing and singing in the era of the 1940’s and 50’s; but it is really something you just have to see to truly understand the greatness of it! It’s a refreshing show that will leave a smile in your face.
Q: Managing a successful and happy troupe can be incredibly hard work. What are your top three tips for success?
My 3 tips to managing a happy troupe are:
1- You can’t have any divas in the troupe; you want to get women who are appreciative, and excited about being a part of your troupe.
2- You want professional talent- girls that are good at what they do and take passion in being their best.
3- Take care of your performers. If you take care of the performers and make sure that they are paid for their talent, and treated like the professionals they are, they will be happy!
I try to hire the most beautiful and talented women “inside and out” to be a part of The Diamond Bettys. To be a Betty you have to have a great personality, great attitude, appreciative and a professional dancer, tapper or singer!
Q: What does the future hold for Renee Stone and The Diamond Bettys?
The future for The Diamond Bettys is endless. I can see us doing a production show/musical based on the Pin Up Girls of 1940’s and 1950’s. We continue performing at various venues and events around the world. We perform at private parties, festivals, trade-shows, charity events and many more events….