Mime artistry

From Academic Kids

A mime artist (also known as a mime) performs a series of dance-like moves. These moves are meant to deceive a person viewing the artist into believing that the artist is working with or touching a physical object even though the artist does not actually touch any object. Another typical feature of miming is the lack of speech on the part of the mime.

Mimimg involves being very realistic about pretending to touch something but not actually doing so. Most often this takes the form of pretending to interact with invisible objects.

Famous moves include:

  • glass walls: the mime opens their hand and pretends to touch (with their open palm) a flat wall in front of them. This motion includes a sudden stop at the end so as to indicate exactly where the wall is, much as people do when they actually slap a wall.
  • rope: The mime grabs an invisible rope and pretends to pull the rope, sometimes with difficulty, indicating the rope is attached to something big or heavy.
  • leaning wall: The mime positions their body to make it appear as if they are leaning against a wall, even though they are not.

The prototypical mime costume is:

  • black and white horizontal striped clothes,
  • the vest from a 3 piece suit (but not the rest of the suit),
  • a formal black top hat or beret,
  • (most importantly) in white face paint (similar to that used by a clown), with some accents in black.

The most famous mime was Marcel Marceau, a French performer.

Mime is common as a street performance medium.

It is widely reported that people who are into clowning (clowns) have a deep dislike of people who are into mime artistry, and likewise that mimes hate clowns. This was the subject of a 1980s Bobcat Gothwait movie, Shakes The Clown (

Many jokes exist about people who dislike mimes and mime artistry, although it does have a large appeal with children.

Some of the moves in breakdancing, such as the moonwalk, have been borrowed from mime.

Motion pictures such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, in which live actors interact with animated cartoons, require the actors to practice mime skills in order to convincingly push or pull an imaginary object or character that will be added to the film later.


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