by Ryan Meehan
Daniel White Kamihira – Star of “The Magician” at the Nomad Hotel in NYC and Discovery Channel’s “The Supernaturalist”, the HP Envy X2 Television Commercial, and Travel Channel’s “White Magic” has been performing magic since the age of ten. Creator, performer, teacher, consultant, and producer, Daniel has excelled in all fields of his art. As a performing magician and magic consultant, Dan White has mystified audiences across the globe. A native of Philadelphia, he has created and starred in two of his own TV shows as well as creating and producing magic on television, in the movies, and on stage for the world’s most famous magicians and entertainers. Dan has also been the featured entertainment at many of the world’s premier events. A few of which include: Diddy’s White party, The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show at the Fountainbleu, The Hamptons Social, The I HEART RADIO music festival, The Kardashian Christmas Party, The Sundance Film Festival, HP’s 2012 Discover Event, The Yeezus Tour, and a plethora of other celebrity events. Dan has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Post, and Vanity Fair, and most recently paid a visit to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to showcase his amazing abilities. We are very excited to have Dan as our guest today in 10 questions.
RM: How did you initially becoming interested in the practice of magic and illusionism? Was there a specific performance you saw when you were younger that really inspired you to further delve into the art form?
DW: Just like most magicians, I received a magic set when I was ten which initially started the interest. It wasn’t until I saw David Copperfield a couple of years later that I realized how beautiful and powerful magic could be.
RM: Let’s talk about those two terms for a minute…What exactly is the difference between a magician and an illusionist? Do you think the casual entertainment consumer isn’t familiar enough with that distinction; and if so what do you think can be done to better define the contrast between the two?
DW: In the magic industry, the terms are very distinct actually. Basically the term Illusionist is usually reserved for magicians that perform large scale effects with boxes and such on stage.
RM: You’ve been quoted as saying “The Best Magic doesn’t trick you…It makes you Believe”…But isn’t there a certain level of deception that is present in most illusions? How do you go about transforming that deception into a positive encounter with the individual for which you are performing the trick?
DW: Absolutely, deception is very important to the effect that magic has on an individual or group. However, I think the problem might lie in the negative connotation of the word deception when it comes to art and magic in particular. All artists use a certain amount of deception to transport you, to point out things that may not be normal or obvious. I want and always hope to use magic to give people a sense of wonder, even if just for a second.
RM: A lot of people reading this have probably come to know you from your most recent appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” where you did a very simple trick called “Hand Pocket”…Why is minimalism so important with regards to performing a trick for a crowd of people that may not be very familiar with magic?
DW: I have always felt that the best magic is the stuff that actually could be real. If it was real, it would exist without large boxes or props. It would be simple, direct, and organic.
RM: What was the most surreal part of that whole experience for you? Is television a medium that you are looking to make an integral part of your future in the entertainment industry; and are there certain limitations which that setup puts on your art?
DW: The whole experience, both times, were definitely a blur. It is still hard for me to believe that I performed twice on the legendary Tonight Show that I grew up watching. Magic can be quite difficult to execute on talk shows; there are just so many variables and so many things that could go wrong. However, the people at The Tonight Show were so unbelievably helpful throughout the entire process and it made all of the difference. Plus, Jimmy is just as amazingly friendly and nice as he seems on TV.
RM: From watching videos of yourself and several other magicians online, it never ceases to amaze me what a wide variety of reactions you can see from those who volunteer to participate in the trick…What was the best reaction that you’ve ever witnessed first-hand as a result of one of your performances? Conversely, what was the most negative reaction you’ve witnessed after you’ve done a trick; and with the latter reaction was it a situation where you genuinely feared that you were in danger of being harmed by that particular individual?
DW: As crazy as it sounds, I’ve seen people laugh, cry, and faint from watching magic- however I have never felt any danger from a reaction to magic…yet.
RM: I’ve always wanted to ask a magician this question about this…I’ve noticed that most of the people who do the kind of entertainment that you’re famous for all tend to have a very relaxed and calming voice that’s almost hypnotic…Is there a science to how you use your voice to sort of convince people to let their guard down and abandon any skepticism they might have about magic in general?
DW: That is definitely a performance style that isn’t held by all practitioners, but I personally feel that sometimes that subdued nature is very good at causing tension which then creates a greater contrast to the reaction that the magic might have. It is almost like how one might tell a ghost story around a camp fire.
RM: For those who are travelling to New York in the near future, how would you best summarize what they can expect to see out of your show at The Nomad Hotel? How long has that show been running, and what percentage of your set is based around audience participation?
DW: We like to keep the specific effects a surprise, however- what I can tell you is that the show itself is very interactive and immersive. We try to have as much audience participation as possible. It is also a show that has a story- which is quite different than any magic show that I can think of. I want people to leave feeling like they just experienced something versus just seeing a guy do some cool tricks.
RM: I saw another clip online where you were doing tricks with currency down in Santo Domingo of the Dominican Republic…In addition to seeing how different cultures respond to the kind of visual art that you do, what do you personally hope to learn about your own performances by seeing those responses in a culture that is not your own?
DW: That is the greatest thing about magic, it totally transcends language or culture. Instinctually, everyone know what is real and what is impossible. Seeing the difference in reactions though is always interesting.
RM: When you read comments from people on YouTube regarding how a certain trick is done, how much of that do you believe is those individuals trying to cut you down by sharing how they think the trick is completed; and how much of it is those people legitimately trying to simply explain what’s happening so that younger magicians who are just getting their start can get better at their craft?
DW: It is a natural reaction for people to want to solve a problem, so therefore I expect that. However, I do not think that anyone posting is trying to help out kids getting into magic. There is a big difference between teaching and just explaining.
RM: What advice would you give someone who is interested in getting started doing what you do? Is that advice something that is going to be different for each individual and how much access they have to a learning environment which teaches these tricks?
DW: Luckily, there are so many resources to learn online these days. My advice is to simply learn and then perform as much as you can.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2015 and beyond? Anything big in the works that you should know about?
DW: I am always working on new things, unfortunately due to the nature of what I do, they have to remain a secret for now.
Official Website: http://www.danwhite.tv/
Dan on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dan-White/93275927169
Dan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Danwhitemagic
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