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PhotobucketFear is a live performer’s constant companion. It comes in several kinds of phobia. Many of them are so specific to the performing art they don’t have obscure scientific names like discombobulatedphobia.

Public speakers, stage actors, singers, dancers, magicians—they all quake in their pants in varying strength on the Richter scale before they go onstage.

PhotobucketSome call this fear stage jitters or stage fright. A number of performers use euphemisms to describe it—“butterflies in the stomach” or “adrenaline rush”—as if vague expressions would make the condition less severe.

But here’s the awful truth: in most cases, stage fright won’t go away. No power on earth can make it less severe, except through constant performances.

A magician can practice daily until he is blue in his face, dislocate his fingers, and bust his knuckles with difficult sleights, he still will feel the jitters before his performance. He can try to combat and control it so it won’t overpower him by breathing exercises and mind conditioning, but stage fright won’t go away completely.

Only when he has logged in years of experience performing live will stage fright calm down somewhat, but it won’t disappear completely as if by magic,.

PhotobucketWhile singers fear their voice will crack during a performance, dancers will miss-time a twirl, actors will flub a line, what are the things that strike fear in the heart of magicians?

Here are their top three fears:

1.Magicians fear they will flash something during a sleight-of-hand performance. In short, they are in mortal fear of detection. Since magicians live in a make-believe world of magic, they depend on subterfuges, clever dodges, tricks, misstatements and outright lies to create the illusion of a magical reality. A discovery of their ploys and artifices destroys the illusion they try to build and therefore embarrasses them. When this happens, it means only one thing: they are abject failures at doing their jobs correctly.

2. They fear their props will not work. The invisible thread breaks, the pull losses its tensive power, the hand chopper bruises the volunteer’s wrist—all this and many more possible mess-ups strike fear in the heart of a magician. The irony is that, even though it’s the props that fail, the magician is the one who must take the blame.

3.They fear their presentation will fall flat. While some magic routines may have intrinsic entertainment value, the great majority needs a big dose of the magician’s talent to make them entertaining. This explains why the more seasoned magicians devote their rehearsal sessions not only on perfecting secret moves but also on honing their presentation to make sure that their magic not only blows away audiences but also entertains them.

That’s a lot of fears to handle. And I have not yet listed dozens of other frightening things about performing magic. I fear that doing so will discourage you from performing for people other than your friends and family members.

PhotobucketWhoever said magic is easy to perform, let me say to him in return, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Stay magical,