STORYTELLER KANE CAPTIVATES KIDS WITH COMEDY

11/14/2006

INA - An hour with professional storyteller Dot Kane seems like 10 minutes. The time flies - along with the oversized underwear, feathered boas, alien, baking pan and fake chicken that appear and disappear into her bag of tricks. By the time "the end" comes, audience members are smiling as much from her kidlike comedy as the warming moral of the story. And, the kids love her too.

Kane brought her more-than-14-year act to Rend Lake College where she entertained Pre-K students from the RLC Foundation Children's Center Tuesday afternoon on the floor of James "Hummer" Waugh Gymnasium. The children learned about colors, numbers, sharing, manners, opposites, taking turns and being true to themselves without ever knowing what hit them.

Dressed in a tie-dyed tee and mismatched Chuck Taylors, Kane used her "Move It or Lose It/ Movement Storytelling and Comedy" routine to effectively wrangle the full attention of approximately 20 to 30 Pre-K participants from the RLCF Children's Center.

Without ever cracking open a book, she told the story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" and a tale about a trio of racecars who wouldn't take turns. A walking, talking storybook; Kane sang songs and played games as the children played and sang along with her. But mostly, they laughed.

Her career as a professional storyteller is as old as her eldest daughter - who, by the way, is how she remembers how long she has been performing, she said. She took her formal training in dance, children's theater and early childhood education and rolled them into one.

"It kind of worked itself out," she said. "One gig led to another gig and here I am."

Named "Favorite for Kids" by Chicago Magazine in 2004, Kane entertains at more than 350 schools, theaters and special events each year, according to her Website, www.DotKane.com. During her busiest year, the Chicago-area resident performed at 430 events, she said. Even with a packed schedule like that, her most hectic job was when she was a preschool teacher, she explained. She called preschool teachers the "angels of America."

Her audience-members aren't all 10 and under. Kane presents her "Move It or Lose It/ Movement Storytelling and Comedy" to large groups of early childhood educators. It was at a conference that she met representatives of RLC and was asked to perform at the college.

Although the faces in the crowd change with each story told, it is their expressions that she finds most endearing, she said.

"I have the best seat in the house," she said. "The looks on their faces … it's the best."

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