Head Of The Class

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Theatre Professor Bill Lengfelder teaches the art of movement.

Theatre Professor Bill Lengfelder is guiding 12 students positioned in pairs in the art of swordplay. At his commands, they thrust, parry, advance or retreat with the swords in a Meadows School of the Arts dance studio. “Bravo children!” he exults after they successfully execute the moves.

A self-described “movement nerd,” Lengfelder combines a variety of techniques – tai chi, mime, swords and daggers, and quarterstaffs (long poles), among others – to help young actors develop “sense mechanics” for the stage. He teaches them how to use the body as an acting tool, to rely on movement as innately as they do on words in a scene. And he has never tired of the subject during the 19 years he has taught at SMU.

“I’ve never not been in some way fascinated by how humanity moves,” says Lengfelder, recipient of the 2009 Meadows Faculty Excellence Award. “I see myself as a supplement to acting and voice and all the other disciplines of theatre. And I get excited when I see the same awakening and understanding about the subject in my students.”

When SMU faculty talk about why they teach, more often than not they point to their students. They are invested with the responsibility to challenge, enlighten, motivate and mentor their students through their teaching, but they also will say in turn that they often are energized and inspired by their students.

Faculty talk about teaching … click below to read more

Christine Buchanan: The Lab Experience
Crista DeLuzio: Past, Present And Future
Maria Dixon: The Greater Good
Randall Griffin: The Artful Challenge
Jeffery Kennington: The Intellectual Tinkerer
Miguel A. Quiñones: Savoring Teachable Moments
Priyali Rajagopal: Listening And Communicating

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