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Many young magicians in the Philippines suffer from the false belief that their hard-earned sleight-of-handskill is itself magic.
The truth of the matter is that magic is not about moves. Those who think otherwise are constantly bedeviled by a seeming anomaly: why they can’t entertain audiences with their multiplying billiard balls while someone with a knack for comedy can delight people with a self-working card trick.
I once watched a nationally televised program, where the female host had magicians as guests. She asked each magician to perform quick magic tricks. One guest turned a silk handkerchief into a cane, another produced a dove from a Change Bag, and yet another restored a torn newspaper into its original piece.
The youngest guest, however, fished a deck of cards from his pocket and then went into a demonstration of fancy cuts. After his performance, the flustered female host remarked, “What was that all about?”
Yes, she was baffled, but it was not the kind of bafflement that magicians want to elicit from their audience. She was baffled, because she asked the guests to perform magic. Instead, one of them demonstrated his manipulative skills, thinking wrongly that dexterity, all by itself, constitutes magic.
Wrong. Sleight-of-hand, secret moves, expert techniques and manipulative dexterity by themselves are not magic.
They become magical only if the magician presents them in such a way that they hook the audience emotionally and create an illusion that moves spectators to suspend their disbelief.
Being a move maven is not bad in itself. In fact, the manipulative moves and the knuckle-busting sleights may be the reasons that drew you to magic. Practicing long hours to get the sleights down pat can be a delightful way to pass the time. Just don’t think that moves by themselves are enough to entertain audiences and you will be in most part get by as an entertainer.
Additionally, perish the thought that your skillful, difficult sleights, no matter how artistically executed, are by themselves magical.
If you think that, you’d be wrong. You would be forever puzzling over not only why you leave your audience unbaffled but also bored.
Magic transcends moves.
That’s a profound statement. I don’t understand it myself. Still, I write it to sound smart.
- Disillusioned with The Magicians | Ben Marshall (guardian.co.uk)
- Camera Tricks and Magic – What’s the Difference? (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)
- Magic (tomaplomb.blogspot.com)
- “Leodini, Please Help My Son Improve His Magic…” (innermagicclub.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions (sciencenews.org)