RHS plays part in Alabama State Thespian Festival

It is not every day students get the chance to learn how to juggle from a professional circus clown or sword fight from a stunt man, but this was the case for six students from Russellville High School, as they attended the Alabama State Thespian Festival.

The festival consisted of workshops for students to attend where they could learn about different elements of performing. Students attended everything from juggling and stage combat to swing dancing and vocal health.

“I want to take them to as many things outside of our school as I can,” said RHS drama teacher Patrice Smith. “There is only so much I can teach them here, so getting them out and exposing them to different things lets them learn about things I might not be an expert on but other people are. I think that is the purpose of state thespian – to expose the kids to as many things as we can.”

The students attended the festival at Vestavia Hills High School over Valentine’s Day weekend with 2,000 other students.

Smith said it was tough attending since students only wrapped on “Frozen Jr.” the Monday before and had to leave for the festival Friday.

Despite the exhaustion students felt from a long week, the students agreed it could not put a damper on how much fun they had that weekend.

“We began around 10 a.m., and after we would finish with one class, we would go straight to another one,” said Grace McDermitt. “We were tired, but it was so much fun we didn’t want to stop.”

Students took a variety of classes to learn different elements of performance while also enhancing their stage presence.

Kaitlyn Balding said she enjoyed learning a variety of dances, including swing dance, cancan and tap.

“Tap dancing was a whole lot harder than I remember it being when I was little,” Balding said.

Students also attended an African dance class to learn traditional African-style dances.

“It was so cool to get to see what different types of dances are out there that can be used in performance,” said Madeline Cooper.

In addition to the workshops, Avery Guinn also earned three collegiate callbacks as part of the junior auditions. He received callbacks from Auburn University, the University of North Alabama and University of West Georgia.

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