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Dr. Martie Fellom, professor of dramatic arts, works with Diamond Williams of Baton Rouge, a general studies major with a concentration in dance, on Diamond’s original choreography for a multi-media dance concert.
Diamond Williams has always enjoyed dancing, not for the attention that comes from
performing, but for the effect the art form has on others.
“Dance has the ability to make you happy or sad, make you think or laugh, whatever reaction the choreographer wants you to have,” said the junior from Baton Rouge, who is majoring in General Studies with a concentration in dance.
Diamond credits Dr. Martie Fellom, professor of dramatic arts, with honing her skills in choreography.
“She constantly pushes me to be innovative and expressive,” she said. “I appreciate her perception and how she challenges me to outdo myself.”
“As a choreographer you want to be able to take a step back and critique and shape the students’ work,” Fellom said. “My students have a passion for choreography and dance; they merely need the opportunity to create.”
And at Southeastern opportunity is what they get. Her students create work that will be performed live at Southeastern’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts and other university venues.
Diamond is one of many students Fellom has mentored through courses and independent studies in dance and choreography. For a recent multi-media dance concert, she choreographed her own piece, which she called “Active Antagonism,” and was responsible for the piece’s entire production, from selecting the theme and music, arranging costumes for her six dancers, and coordinating staging and lighting.
“By the time our students graduate they are at such an advantage,” Fellom said. “Some are doing concerts of their own at the undergraduate level.”
With a doctorate in performance studies from New York University, Fellom has served on the Southeastern faculty for nearly two decades. She is also founder and artistic director of the Southeastern dance troupe, Danceworks. Fellom received Southeastern’s President’s Award for Excellence in Artistic Activity in 1995 and was the recipient of the 1993-94 Louisiana Dance Educator of the Year Award presented by the Louisiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
In recent years, she has expanded her life long love of dancing and teaching dance into the realm of videography. With writer Alan Marsh of the Southeastern English Department, she has produced several award-winning short films, such as Wild Kingdom and Wish. She is creating a new “dance for the camera” course for her Southeastern students.
Williams says she finds inspiration from “just knowing that there is no wrong way to express yourself, and there are really no rules in the art of choreography. That helps keep my mind open to all the possibilities.”