Did you see Dazzling Dan sprinkling a dash of magic around the 2017 Humans in Geelong Expo?
Geelong’s much-loved magician, affectionately known as the Magic Man, has been performing to the public for more than 20 years.
Dan performs full time throughout Geelong, and travels across the state entertaining audiences with a combination of cheeky comedy and unexpected surprises.
Performances are often family affairs, with wife Lisa, a performing and visual arts teacher, working hard behind the scenes developing content and often appearing on stage. The pair’s daughters Lily 7, and Isabella 5, are always on hand to help or test out new material.
Dan was recently ranked second in Australia for his impromptu magic abilities and is the Vice President of the Australian Institute of Magic. He was the first professional magician to be invited to perform in the Doug Tremlett Theatre when it opened at the Magic Manor in 2016.
Humans in Geelong caught up with the creative couple during magic moments.
// Dan, how did you become a magician? //
DAN: Grade one of primary school was my first show to my friends at school. I was the class clown so my mum pushed me towards magic. She knew of an uncle that was moving overseas and had to get rid of some of his tricks. I focused my energy on magic rather than being annoying. In high school I met a magician at an acting class who said: “Do magic tricks and make money”. I thought that was a good idea, started doing that and it all grew from there.
// What is your style of magic? //
DAN: I try be versatile, adaptive and natural and not to take myself as seriously as other magicians. I have to turn up and be ready for anything. My comedy is very tongue in cheek and often has a double meaning so I can entertain adults as well.
LISA: Dan reads the audience and adjusts his show to where their limits are. He’s very good at being able to adjust on the spot and on the day.
// Do your daughters (Lily and Isabella) take after you? //
LISA: Lily is extremely literal and very organised so she leans towards the producer role. Isabella is right into the performing. She went through a phase of constantly running on stage because she wanted to be part of the action.
// What does a typical week look like? //
DAN: I might visit a nursing home, pre-school, kinder, schools, private birthday, corporate or community event.
LISA: We have our calendars synched on both of our phones and laptop so we know what our week consists of and don’t forget anything!
// How often do you practice? //
DAN: It’s more maintenance now but I try to regularly introduce new tricks because I don’t want people to get bored. There are so many tricks out there but I like to adapt or create my own. Committing to a project is a great way to create new magic.
LISA: The girls are very honest critics!
// How many tricks do you have up your sleeve? //
DAN: I’ve mastered three hours worth of material for a magic show. However, I have hundreds of rare and unique props in storage, and even more manuscripts and books on magic, which I use as inspiration.
// Is it true that a magician can never reveal his secrets? //
DAN: Yes, but there are many reasons why and I cannot tell you because they are secret. I also can’t reveal too many otherwise I’d be unemployed! Lisa and I run a program called Magic Connections, weekly magic sessions for kids to learn how to perform magic with confidence. This year we will begin Week 1, of Term 1.
// What do you like to do when not performing? //
LISA: The family loves to escape to the family bush reserve in the Otways to camp, unplug and be in nature.
// And finally, what do you love about Geelong? //
DAN: I love how it is made up of a patchwork of culture and lifestyles that combine to be Geelong. In my work I see a lot of Geelong and it is so diverse. I get a chance to make connections in different suburbs.
LISA: I love the community feel and the genuine connections at all the events we go to.
For more information go to www.dazzlingdan.com.au
Story: Rebecca Thompson Photo: Phil Hines Photography