43-Year-Old Secretary Is Kicking Up Her Heels as Flamenco Dancer

“When I was a young dancer,” recalled Diane Champion, “I didn’t know how good I really was and didn’t have the courage to go to New York and try for a big dance company.”

Years and the maturity that comes with them have instilled in her the courage and confidence.

But the flamenco dancer and one-time classical ballerina also has acquired a secretarial job and a son in college. And 43 years of age.

Nevertheless, “dancing is still the most important part of my life,” said the Huntington Beach resident who works as a secretary at the Oasis Senior Citizens Center in Corona del Mar.


After work, at parties and benefits, the spotlight shines on her while she performs exciting flamenco dances with a La Palma group.

‘Now I have to be content expressing myself in any place I can,” she said. Although she would like to hook up with a dance company on a permanent basis, Champion realizes competition is stiff, especially from the young.

But at the same time, she adds, “you keep on dancing to express yourself, and you have to keep on going or there’s something wrong with your life. I’ve quit for periods of time and when I did, something was missing.”

Most of her youth was devoted to ballet. She tried community theater and independent entertainment groups to find different types of dance assignments. Some of them included modern dance styles and even some singing.


She sees flamenco dancing as an opportunity to find more dance assignments and plans to take additional flamenco dance lessons in Mexico City in November. “There’s not that many people doing flamenco dancing these days,” she said.

There are many like her throughout Orange County who keep on singing or dancing because of their artistic bent and a need to perform and be in the spotlight, Champion said.

“Most of us maintain two careers, the one we do for a living and the other we do for ourselves,” she said.

“There are a lot of enormously talented people who got sidetracked from their dreams. I started a family when I was very young and that was it. To succeed you have to give up a normal life, and I wasn’t willing to do that even though dancing was the happiest part of my life.” But she added: “There’s no end to dancing or singing so long as performers keep at it and keep in shape. If I really wanted to, I could dance in nightclubs, but I’m happy dancing with the La Palma group.”

In time, she said, “I’ll probably do some other type of dancing and performing.”

The movie script calls for a poodle to fill a bucket with water from the ocean, carry the bucket in his mouth and empty it on the face of an actor whom the dog earlier dug out of a shallow grave.

Several poodles were tested but none was big or smart enough to carry the bucket and empty it on the actor, let alone dig him out of a grave.

So enter Rommel, a Rottweiler owned by Karen Duet, who operates a kennel in Yorba Linda.


Rommel got a screen test for the movie “KillCrazy” and was an immediate hit. He was placed under contract and later “the cast gave him a standing ovation after he did the scene,” Duet said.

The only thing wrong with Rommel was his name.

So in the movie, the 125-pound trained guard dog is called Fifi.

Costa Mesa Boy Scout Carlos Villa thought tracking the history of Boy Scouting in Costa Mesa would be a fitting finale to his quest for the Eagle Scout rank, the highest Scouting offers.

So he proposed the research idea to the Costa Mesa Historical Society. At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the society’s headquarters, 1870 Anaheim Ave., Costa Mesa, his months of work will be displayed as the society’s program.

Anyone who wants to view the history of Costa Mesa Scouting, which dates back to 1920, is welcome to attend the free program.

“There was no way we could have compiled all the history Carlos acquired,” society spokeswoman Mary Ellen Goddard said. “He had to find artifacts from Scouts in Costa Mesa to set up the Scouting display because there was (no) central place to find the history.” The display will also be shown at the society’s building from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Sometime next month Carlos will receive his Eagle rank.


Acknowledgments--Anaheim resident Marjorie R. Scott, 63, was named Blood Donor of the Year by the county’s American Red Cross chapter for donating 208 units of blood in her lifetime. “It makes you feel good physically and mentally to donate,” said the telephone company computer operator, who was honored at a volunteer recognition luncheon.