Sometimes, great lessons in how to perform well can come from the most unexpected places—or objects. Say, from balls.

The trouble is, some of us Pinoy magicians are predisposed to ignore these lessons. We miss them even though they are screaming their warnings right into our faces.

The lessons of the bouncing balls came to me while watching a magic competition. One of the contestants performed a difficult ball manipulation act.

That the act was difficult and half-baked was obvious even to the lay people in the audience. The number of times the ball dropped from his hands tell no other story other than difficult and half-baked. The contestant was reduced to perform “chasing the balls all over the place” act, instead of the elegant “multiplying balls” act it was meant to be.

So, what is the lesson the bouncing balls teach?

It is simply this: it is all right if you drop a ball once in, say, 300 performances. In baseball, they call that a good batting average. In tennis, it is called a excellent percentage shot.

But if you drop the balls three times (or more) in a single performance, it means the act is not yet ready for public viewing, let alone for competition.

It may be allowable to perform before a mirror, in front of a camera (provided you don’t upload it on YouTube) or before friends, but not in public.

Close relatives to the “bouncing ball” lesson are the following admonitions:

If you can’t remember what comes next in the routine…

If you forget your next line….

If you blink when executing a sleight…

If you turn around to reset your stuff…

If you clear your throat, cough or say “uhm” so many times (seven times seven) that even the Bible will not forgive you…

If your hands shake an Intensity Seven shake…

If you can’t find the chosen card in three attempts…

If you mistakenly use a Stripper Deck to perform a Svengali Deck effect and can’t figure out why the trick doesn’t work three times in a row…

If you get rattled when you can’t separate the three permanently linked Chinese Rings…

If after performing the Masuda Wow trick you get sarcastic reactions like “Let’s go play Nintendo games” instead of “Wow!”…

If your hands look arthritic, paralyzed and stiffed while classic palming a coin…

If you stab an audience member’s hand when performing Stab!…

If you can’t get out of the Substitution Trunk…

If you have to be rescued and resuscitated by sexy Baywatch lifeguards after a failed underwater straitjacket escape…

…then your act is not yet ready for a public performance let alone for a competition.

Just because you have a daredevil mentality and can’t be flustered by any audience doesn’t mean you should perform magic.

Magic is not hubris. Nor is it gall.

Stay magical,

Leodini

www.leodini.com


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