Remembering a dance alumna


Courtesy of Keith “Skip” Costa

Mary Lou Champagne.

Jacob Summerville, Staff Reporter

Some love stories continue on after death.

“A Few of Her Favorite Things: A dedication to Mary Lou Champagne” will be performed on Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Vonnie Borden Theatre in remembrance of the late alumna Mary Lou Champagne.

Director of Dance Keith “Skip” Costa aims to “continue exploring improvisation as an art form and also serves as the course’s performance project” through Dance Performance Project and DPP2.

He explained the backstory of Mary Lou Champagne.

“Mary Lou and William Champagne are both alumni of Southeastern where they fell in love with each other while in college,” said Costa. “Mary Lou loved dancing and continued to dance after college. She over time opened-up her own dance studio in Pearl River, LA and was very successful in dance education in her area. Her love for dance is the reason they established the scholarship about 10 years ago.”

Since Mary Lou Champagne’s passing in the summer of 2017, 13 students with a dance concentration or a dance minor have received her scholarship, including five of the dancers in this upcoming production.




In preparation for this show, Costa received theme topics from the Champagne family that included things that Mary Lou Champagne loved to do. The choreography maps were created by the student soloists in the concert.

Costa gave more details about the performance’s layout.

“There are 15 performers for this concert with four solos, one duet and four group dances,” explained Costa. “Moods change from joyful to religious to personal, which are all based on the themes we selected from the list that was submitted to me. Music was selected to enhance our dances from the styles of music which she enjoyed including Dean Martin, Perry Como and Frank Sinatra among others.”

Costa stated that the ending piece will be a duet representing Mary Lou and William Champagne.

Performer Brianna Denmark, a senior general studies major, shared what she has enjoyed about the production thus far.

“I most enjoy seeing everyone come together to honor Mrs. Champagne’s memory,” said Denmark. “Even though we the students did not know her personally, we are all trying our hardest to make this concert special for her family members.”

Denmark said that the hardest aspect about this performance is “giving enough justice” to the solo that she will be performing.

The concert was created within the special topics in the dance course that takes place in the second term. Costa explained that dancers of any level can sign up for the course.

“We create the entire concert during our course time, and it culminates with a performance on Vonnie Borden Theatre,” said Costa. “There are no requirements for the course. So, all levels of interest and all levels of technique can register. Some of our performers have never danced before but are very passionate about improvisation.”

The course also fulfills a requirement for the dance concentration of the general studies major as well as the choreography and contemporary dance performance minor.

Costa shared that he is very excited to see the students’ work.

Costa said, “Each time we do our maps, it is always performed in a new and inventive way so that each time we dance is like doing it for the first time, which allows it to stay fresh and exciting, especially for the performers.”

Tickets will be sold 30 minutes prior to the performance. Tickets for students, senior citizens and children are $8, and general admission is $10.