Basic Information

Address: 366 Avon Drive Pittsburgh, PA 15228
Phone Number: (412) 563-0468
Director: Dan Kamin

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Additional Information

Focus: Entertaining and highly interactive assembly programs that introduce the power of live theatre.
Grade Levels: K-5, 6-8, 9-12
Length: 45-60 minutes

Negotiable, depending on en-route booking schedule

Pricing: $500-$1000

The Magic of Movement

Residencies: In "The Magic of Movement" Dan reveals the secrets behind his amazing movement illusions. Participants learn to do some seriously cool moves and explore the art and science of movement.
Setup: 60 minutes (Illusionist); 5 minutes (Pantomime Man)
Takedown: 10 minutes
Equipment: PowerPoint linked to video projection for The Illusionist.
Special Requirements: PowerPoint for Illusionist

Meet the man who created comedy moves for Johnny Depp (Benny and Joon), Robert Downey, Jr. (Chaplin) and Tim Burton (Mars Attacks!) in TWO magical programs guaranteed to inspire and excite students...

1. The Pantomime Man enthralls elementary school audiences with eye-popping movement illusions and hilarious stories without words. Everyone gets involved in this uproarious show, including several audience members who turn the tables on the smug pantomimist!

2. The Illusionist dazzles hard-to-impress middle and high schoolers with physical comedy, entertaining sketches about driving and dates, and mind-boggling sleight-of-hand magic. Dan's engaging stories and astonishing performance skills make this an ideal introduction to the power of live theatre.

Philosophy/Belief Statement: Kids live in a world of people who are bigger than they are, and some of those giants—like their parents and teachers—boss them around. But in "The Pantomime Man" kids ALWAYS get the better of the hapless mime. It makes them feel powerful and they scream with laughter (SEE THE REVIEW BELOW). "The Illusionist" demonstrates how live theatre can be as compelling as a movie, because Dan's movement skills make him a living special effect.
Program History:

DAN KAMIN performs worldwide for schools, theatres, arts festivals and symphony orchestras. On film, he created the physical comedy sequences for "Chaplin" and "Benny and Joon" and trained Robert Downey, Jr. and Johnny Depp for their acclaimed starring performances. He played the vengeful wooden Indian that came to life in the cult classic "Creepshow 2," and created the Martian girl’s weird movement for Tim Burton’s horror film spoof "Mars Attacks!"

Despite his impressive stage and screen credits, Dan’s artistic beginnings were humble. At age twelve he began his performing career as a boy magician, performing for audiences of hyperkinetic, sugar-crazed children at birthday parties. Seeking a more stable way of making a living he attended Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University to study industrial design. But when he saw the eye-popping movement illusions practiced by master mime Jewel Walker, then teaching in the school’s famous drama department, Dan’s hopes for living a normal life evaporated.

The great silent comedy films of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin added more fuel to his fire, and soon Dan was touring the country with his first original show, “Silent Comedy...Live!” Undeterred by the fact that vaudeville was long dead, he cobbled a new vaudeville circuit out of colleges, theatres, and corporations, for whom Dan often appears as a keynote speaker who falls apart. His “Comedy Concertos,” blending comedy with classical music, have become popular with symphonies worldwide. And as “Mr. Slomo” he strolls through arts festival crowds in eerie slow motion, terrifying the very children who tormented him as a youth.

Dan returned to his comedy roots to write Charlie Chaplin's One-Man Show, revealing the secrets of Chaplin's comic art. Hailed as a breakthrough work, the book boasts a preface by another Chaplin fan, Marcel Marceau. Dan's new book, The Comedy of Charlie Chaplin: Artistry in Motion, updates his earlier book and features an account of how he trained Downey for his Oscar-nominated performance.

During recent seasons Dan has toured his solo shows throughout America and Europe and performed with many symphonies, including Montreal, Cleveland, Shanghai, Singapore and Malaysia.

Testimonials: WHAT MISTER ROGERS SAYS ABOUT DAN KAMIN: "Your work is beautiful and your engagement with the children very heartening. I enjoyed very much your mixing talk with mime...superb!"--Fred Rogers WHAT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL KIDS SAY ABOUT THE PANTOMIME MAN: “I never knew that a pantomimist could be so intelligent. I guess you proved me wrong.” Stacy, age 11 “You made me laugh so hard that I got a head ache. Nobody’s ever done that before.” --Kenneth, age 11 “You seem a little old doing pantomime, but you do it pretty good.” --David, age 8 “What a talent.” --John, age 6 WHAT HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS AND TEACHERS SAY ABOUT THE ILLUSIONIST: “Now THAT was an assembly.” --Math teacher “He was so easy to talk with in preparing for arrival. What a professional.” --Faculty media teacher “I came to both assemblies even though I was supposed to go to the gym assembly.” --An athletic-minded student “Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.” --Teacher “What a show!” --Teacher “Our Vo-Tech students are to leave at 8:35 and always do so—the coordinator had to come for the students at 8:42 to make the required pick-up. They LOVED this show.” --Teacher “When is he coming back?” --Student
Additional Information:

By MARY NEWPORT mary.newport@thefacts.com
Oct 8, 2016

The Pantomime Man didn't speak as he made his way through the Bess Brannen Elementary School cafeteria, but his progress was far from silent. Kids laughed and called greetings as he followed an invisible railing to the front of the room, occasionally stopping for high-fives and handshakes that inexplicably trapped his hand.

His antics were deceptively simple, comedy distilled into a series of movements designed to bypass all barriers and hit humor on the nose.

"The great silent comedians -- Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy -- were popular worldwide, because there was no language barrier," said Dan Kamin, the silent comedy expert underneath the floppy hat. "Everybody got the jokes, because when you stop talking you speak in the universal language of movement. It delights peope and makes them happy."

It certainly made the kids at Bess Brannen happy. In one part of his show, Kamin invited second-grader Chloe Daniel up to the stage for a tug-of-war with an invisible rope. He assured the crowd he would go easy on Chloe, since she was, after all, just a little girl and he was "the strongest man in the world." Shouts of laughter followed as she immediately pulled the skidding mime toward her, despite the way resisted frantically all the way. He ended up crumpled in surrender before the grinning girl.

"I didn't know he was gonna do that," Chloe told me after the show. "It was a super fun show. I especially liked it when he was running from those three kids."

She was talking about the sketch in which Kamin turned Heather Paul, Tyler Palmer and Lu'Kus Vintila. into statues of an opera singer, a boxer and an archer, ostensibly for a skit about a man visiting a museum. But the skit derailed when the statues kept moving into new positions behind his back. It ended with the rebellious statues coming to life and chasing Kamin around the room, to screams of laughter from the audience.

After the show I asked Kamin when he rehearsed the students. His answer surprised me as much as the sketch itself. "I never rehearsed them. I cued them secretly right in front of the audience."

"It was so hilarious," said another student I spoke with. "That would be the No. 1 best program ever."

The kids found Kamin's sketches funny, but the show was also carefully crafted to make them feel powerful. Kamin said the best way to get children involved is to give them a sense of control that they don't often have.

"Kids are in a world where bigger kids and grownups are always telling them what to do. In this show they rule."

In some communities, where arts instruction has fallen by the wayside, his show can open up a new world for students, a world that both delights and inspires them. As the kids filed out after the program I saw the evidence in their smiling faces and mimetic actions.