Fellom returns to teaching


Zachary Araki/The Lion’s Roar

Professor Emeritus of Music and Performing Arts Dr. Martie Fellom decided to return to teaching dance after an almost two-year hiatus.

After an almost two-year hiatus from teaching at the university, Dr. Martie Fellom, professor emeritus of music and performing arts, brings back her knowledge and passion for dance to students.

Fellom decided to return this semester to teach Introduction to Dance after speaking with Keith “Skip” Costa, director of dance. Through the class, Fellom hopes to broaden students’ definition of dance.

“More students at Southeastern possibly will see other aspects of dance than what they’ve been surrounded by, so that’s why I thought it would be great,” said Fellom. “He had four sections, and he’s teaching one, and I’m teaching three. I’m excited for the students to be on this exciting discovery of many aspects of the word dance.”

Fellom graduated from the university in 1971 and returned to begin teaching in 1985. When she retired from the university in December 2016, she continued to teach at Fellom Ballet.

Besides teaching, Fellom started rehearsal for a piece in the dance program’s spring dance concert this February. Costa believes Fellom will bring creativity and professionalism to the contemporary dance program.

Costa shared, “Dr. Fellom is creating a new work for our mainstage concert to push the boundaries of movement and contemporary dance this semester and to give our contemporary dance program students more opportunities for individual and professional growth as an artist.”

In addition to technique, creativity and passion, safety is important when studying dance.

“When you teach dance, you’re giving them information about how to use their body, and you always want them to be safe with their body,” explained Fellom. “The body is your instrument for life, but the body is the instrument for dance too. The most important thing is to give them correct information about their body so when they do some movement, they’re not going to injure it.”

Costa described Fellom as an approachable and nurturing teacher who searches for the strengths in her students.

“I am extremely excited that Southeastern has awarded Dr. Fellom the title of professor emeritus for all of her hard work as both an accomplished educator and choreographer,” said Costa. “This is another step for the contemporary dance program to be recognized as an academic field of study alongside all other programs that we offer here at Southeastern for our dedicated and hard working students.”

Beyond her experience with the university, Fellom made her mark in dance. In 1965, she co-founded the dance school Fellom Ballet. She received the Hammond Regional Arts Center’s 1998 Dance Award, the university President’s Award for Excellence in Artistic Activity in 1995 and the Louisiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance 1993-94 Louisiana Dance Educator of the Year Award.

“You have to have great passion for what you’re going to dance about,” shared Fellom. “What is significant for the people in this community? When they go to the concert, what can they experience that will help them in their life or open a door to help them learn something new? That’s what the program’s about.”

In over 40 years of involvement with the university, Fellom saw the dance program change from one involved with multiple dance forms including tap, social and folk dance to one focused on contemporary dance to accommodate the faculty size.

Fellom said, “It’s always been a small program, but people who have a passion for the arts and for dance, they will be happy here because they are broadening what dance can be because we have students that come from other studios, and they’re good dancers. They have a style that they like, but when they come here, they see all the possibilities of what can be. You don’t have to always think about technical virtuosity. It should be the content for the work. That’s what’s significant.”