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RMS students learn show biz at ‘most magical place on Earth’

While the majority of students spent their holiday break relaxing, a group from Russellville Middle School experienced the magic of Disney while learning about casting from a professional director and choreographer.

Students loaded up at 3 a.m. New Year’s Day to head to Orlando, Fla.

While at Walt Disney World, students were able to visit all four main parks, with part of the Animal Kingdom day being devoted to a two-hour workshop at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort.

Students learned from a professional Broadway casting agent, who cast each student for his or her specific part during the workshop.

“The director put a lot of emphasis on attitude and personality, which these kids are used to hearing all the time, but it was nice for them to hear someone talk about it on the level of Broadway and Disney casting,” said RCS choral director Emily Rush. “It gave them a different perspective.”

While in the workshop, students were broken up into groups and learned a condensed version of a scene from a Broadway show. RMS students were cast as characters in “Mary Poppins” and learned the famous “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” scene.

Students even had a surprise as their teachers, Rush and Jessica Marsh, participated in the workshop as well.

All students participating in the workshop learned the song and choreography, including Logan Lindsey, who works as a tech student.

“It was definitely different for me,” Lindsey said. “I am just not used to being up there singing and dancing.”

Kaitlin Speck, who was selected for the part of Jane, said she thought it was cool how the workshop included the same material used on Broadway.

“It was really fun to learn how to do the Broadway choreography and to even learn the Broadway way of spelling supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” Speck said.

Mary Poppins was played by Ebony West, who said she learned how important it is to focus on attitude and personality.

“I learned that in Broadway your attitude is one of the main things you have to work on,” West said. “Directors see you and how you interact with them at all times. It makes a big difference.”

Rush said this is the first time the middle school has taken such a large-scale trip and the first time students have participated in a workshop like this.

She said the hope is to offer the trip every other year to give students the chance to attend in seventh or eighth grade. She said she is thinking about rotating trips to also attend workshops at Universal Studios.

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