“Learn How To Perform Magic Like Criss Angel and David Blaine..” Like most magicians with any kind of online presence I get loads of emails with this sort of heading. And I’m getting pretty sick of it. I have nothing again Messrs Angel and Blaine (in fact one of them has bought books from me in the past). It’s the sad concept behind the email headline that upsets me

It really is nonsense! Seems to me that if there’s a problem with magic today it is that people want to perform like Angel, Blaine, Dynamo, whoever… Surely those who take their teaching responsibility seriously should teach would-be performers to find their own style and ‘perform magic like’ THEMSELVES. There are already too many carbon copies of these people and not enough original artists.

Of course we all begin to develop an interest in our chosen art or craft because we are inspired by seeing leading performers. And perhaps it is natural at first to wish to emulate them. Although I would hope that, through our own good sense or the wise counsel of others, we quickly grow out of the ridiculous urge to copy them.

We can learn by watching the ‘stars’; and we should study them carefully. But we must aspire to move beyond copying their style or their tricks. We have our own particular strengths and weaknesses, our own character or persona. The character we play as a magician may not be our everyday self (all performers are actors to some extent?), but I would argue that it has to be grounded within and arise from ourself.

What do YOU think?

(PS. If anyone wants to learn to perform like Derren Brown, give me a ring. We’ve got a couple of books on NLP in the shop….)

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