Smashing Success: CASA Encore Raises $119,000 for Charity

The annual Theta Encore dance competition at the University of Mississippi became CASA Encore this year, and with its new name, the event raised more than $119,000 for abused and neglected children – a significant increase in funds from last year. 

CASA Encore, a dance-off held Nov. 13 at the University of Mississippi, brought sororities together to raise more than $119,000 to benefit abused and neglected children in Lafayette County. Photo by Caroline Cline

“Theta Encore,” was a long-running and beloved dance competition between the Ole Miss sororities. CASA, which stands for “court-appointed special advocates” is Kappa Alpha Theta’s national philanthropy. Ole Miss Thetas had organized Theta Encore as the chapter’s philanthropy event and donated all the proceeds to CASA for nearly 20 years.

After the chapter disbanded, the event was picked up by UM College Panhellenic to benefit CASA’s local organization, which supports abused and neglected children in the court system. The event’s first go-around on Wednesday (Nov. 13) was extremely successful, organizers said. The proof is in the uptick in funds raised. 

“The support was incredibly encouraging to see,” said Erin Smith, founding executive director of CASA of Lafayette County. “The event exceeded all of my expectations, it was incredibly successful.”

Just how much more successful was the event than last year? At the start of the event, $94,350 had already been raised through donations. After just the first 20 minutes of the show, another $3,000 had been raised during the first act alone. By the end of the night, CASA Encore raised at least $119,365, which is $26,000 more than last year, with some ticket sale proceeds still being counted. 

“As the beneficiary for this event, we were very pleased with the outcome,” Smith said. “We hope that this event continues to grow and will always be a staple for the Panhellenic community to participate in.”

All 10 of the university’s Pan-Hellenic’s sororities performed at the event and each one spent their time onstage showcasing their chapter’s talents in all areas of dance through a theme of their choice.

Overall winners were:

  • First place – Delta Gamma
  • Second place – Kappa Kappa Gamma
  • Third place – Kappa Delta

Best dance winners were:

  • First place – Phi Mu
  • Second place – Kappa Kappa Gamma
  • Third place – Delta Gamma

First place received $3,000; second place, $2,000; and third place, $1,000 toward the chapter’s philanthropy.

Though it started as an intense dance competition event among pledge classes from all sororities, the event had expanded in recent years to include blood drive participation and a banner contest.

Each routine was limited to five minutes and generally showcased a variety of dance genres and levels of experience. The judges are anonymous and none share an affiliation with the participating chapters.

The themes were wide-ranging and creative. They included:

  • Alpha Omicron Pi: “Queens Only”
  • Kappa Kappa Gamma: “Scooby Doo and the Mystery of the Missing Banner”
  • Alpha Phi: “Elf”
  • Tri Delta: “Beyoncé Live”
  • Delta Gamma: “And the Encore Goes To”
  • Kappa Delta: “The Lion King”
  • Chi Omega: “Love You Like XO”
  • Phi Mu: “May the Force Be With Mu”
  • Pi Phi: “Best of Both Worlds”
  • Alpha Delta Pi: “Superheroes”

CASA of Lafayette County and College Panhellenic expressed appreciation to all donors and participants in this year’s event.

Pirie Maher, vice president of philanthropy for the College Panhellenic executive board, said the support for the event was gratifying and overwhelming.

“I’m very thankful for everyone; I mean, there are so many people that go into this,” Maher said. “I just really want to thank Ole Miss for being so supportive of all of our endeavors, the Ford Center for being so patient with us, and everyone for donating so much to the cause.”

By Caroline Cline

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