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Northwest Students Learn "Actor-batics"

Northwest Missouri State University got a taste of Broadway when a former student taught theater classes a lesson in movement.  
ST. JOSEPH, Mo.-- Northwest Missouri State University got a taste of Broadway when a former student taught theater classes a lesson in movement.  

A former Northwest student brought his experience back to the classroom for a day.

Brad Lemons has worked on Broadway, directing stage combat, and Tuesday he worked at Northwest's performing arts center to put a new spin on learning.

For Tuesday's lesson he used cartwheels to teach theater students how to create movement on stage.

"I call them actor-batics, because they're acrobatics for actors," Lemons said.

The demonstration was about more than just movement.

He's teaching students to face their fears and be confident in their abilities, on and off the stage.

"The idea of trying to create a company feeling about supporting the actors and trying to support the movement," Lemons said.

Students appreciated his approach.

"I have to learn a definition first before I learn the term, for me to get it, so I connected with what he was saying," Ebony Ealy, Northwest student, said.

Even though some students knew the concept of a cartwheel, it took a lot of practice to master the move in front of an audience.

"I think it's important to not always default to what you know how to do, because I just would have done the cartwheel on my one side but rather learn something new and take something away from it," Heather Hare, student, said.

"It had a deeper meaning to it- he was telling us, just because you put a name on it, you have to actually learn how to do it- take the time to figure out how to do it instead of just being told what you're supposed to do," Xavier Kimble, student, said.

Lemons says he hopes students take what they've learned from his success, and apply it to their own careers.

"It's nice to come back and show current students there's a bigger world out there, and it is accessible to them," Lemons said.
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