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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Making the most of my time learning The Cups & Balls! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Justin Hepton
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Surrey, in the UK
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Hello again everyone!

Im working hard with my Cups and Balls with the help of the excellent "Complete Cups & Balls" By Michael Ammar, and really enjoying every minute of it!

I was hoping to get some help from you all with stucturing my practice time and making the most of the practice time I get - I have two very young kids you see!

My knowledge of the sleights in this sort of area is limited, I can perform a good french drop and fake transfer, the rest of the moves "Tip Over move" etc, are new to me.

My question is, how do you think I should structure my practice? work on the sleights first, then the sort of routine I want, in terms of how I want to begin, what I want in the middle, and of course, final loads/ending. I know this may sound like an obvious question, surely I should get my sleights down first right? But I find myself thinking about how I want to tailor my routine to fit my own style, how I can incorporate the beautiful vanishes such as the Silent Mora/Vernon wand spin etc, what I think would make a surprising final load etc. I think maybe I just have all these things going round in my head and should really focus on getting the sleights down first, what do you think?

Im surely not the only one who has watched these videos and absolutely loved the Bob Read sections and the Dai Vernon video at the end!

Justin
"After the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box"



- Italian proverb
sethb
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The Jersey Shore
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In my humble opinion, you should first construct a fairly simple and short routine using the moves/effects that you like. Then you'll know which sleights you need to learn, AND you can learn them in the context of a routine, so you'll feel like you're actually getting somewhere.

The beauty of the Cups & Balls is that you can always add additional bits and pieces to your routine as you become more proficient. Just remember that longer is not necessary better -- the whole thing needs to hang together logically and build to the climax of the final load(s). Also, as Ammar notes, you need to decide whether you are going to perform standing or sitting. That will determine your load procedures and techniques, and to a lesser extent, which sleights you will use.

The wand spin is a beautiful thing, but I would work on the basics first -- the finger palm, a good false transfer, the basic inertia move, the "scoop" and tip-over moves, one or two ball loads, a flourish or two, and your final load technique. That should be more than enough to keep you busy for a while! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
rikbrooks
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I went through the Ammar tapes and created a routine that used every single move - every single one. It didn't flow well at all. I mixed the moves up so that they flowed a little, but still it wasn't 'presentation' quality. The whole routine was almost 20 minutes and that was going fast with no patter.

I worked on this for a month or two. Doing the routine at least once a day until the whole thing was smooth. By then I had shaved about 2 minutes off it while doing all the same moves. Again, not looking for presentation, looking just to learn all the moves.

Once I had that I started discarding the moves that I just didn't feel comfortable with. For one reason or another didn't thrill me. I got it down to 12 minutes.

Now I have a 12 minute routine that I still do 3 or 4 times a week, but it's just for practice. It was then that I started thinking about real routines. I tried quite a few. I would take a couple of moves from one routine then a couple more from another.

Now I do a combo cup routine that is a strange mixture of Bannon from 'Impossibilia', Mendoza, and Dai Vernon as taught by Ammar, and a couple of inspirations that I'm sure others have used in the past but since I've never seen them I will claim them as mine - all mine.

So, my advice, is to immerse yourself - learn every single thing that you can. When you are happy with ALL the moves, cut out the ones that you don't like. I know it's not the easy or quick way, but in the end you get something that matches you rather than just a copy of someone else. I think that always looks better.

Some may disagree, but they'd be wrong.
Justin Hepton
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Surrey, in the UK
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Thanks for the suggestions rikbrooks and sethb!

that's how I felt about it, I want to absorb as much info as I can, put as many well learnt and polished moves into my arsenal, and then put a routine together with the knowledge I have gained.

keep the thoughts coming! Any suggestions for some sort of "practice timetable"? so perhaps I can have some kind of structure to things? Know what I mean?

Justin
"After the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box"



- Italian proverb
rikbrooks
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What I did was to sit in front of the TV with Ammar playing and my cups and balls in front of me with a laptop. He would teach something and I would practice it until I 'learned' it. Then I'd look at my routine that was on the computer and figure out where to put it. No concern for patter, just where would the moves flow from one move to the other.

Every time that you do something your hands are in a particular position. I would try to find a move that ended with my hands closest to where my new move began. Sometimes inserting there would cause me to shuffle other things that were already there around.

Once I had the whole two tapes on there I had a massive routine that would bore the most avid spectator. That's when I chose the moves that I really liked the best, the ones that fit me most. Then I removed everything except the ones that I really liked (most of them). That is still my practice routine. I do it 3 or 4 times a week just so I don't forget the moves that I like.

Then, armed with that, I started reading other people's ROUTINES. I got an idea for how they made things flow and how they made the patter match the moves. You aren't looking for exact copies here, you are looking for thought processes. Keep asking, "Now, why did they do this HERE?" Sometimes it appears that it's just because they like that. Other times you can find a clear line of thought.

Then think outside the box. Tim Ellis's Run Around Sue is probably the most wonderful cups and balls routine that I've ever seen. It's so DIFFERENT and so FUN. I'll never perform it because, well, I'm just not Tim Ellis and I can't imagine anyone doing that as well, but it did get me thinking. No need to stay in the box. He uses squash balls for his balls and only two cups, both of them milkshake glasses. His routine is a 2 cups, 1 ball routine. Now isn't THAT different?

Above all, just keep playing with them. Things will happen, ideas will spring out by themselves - once you have an arsenal of moves that is.
Sean Comer
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Strider:

Thanks for posting this question. I am in the same position as yourself, what to learn, when etc. I just started the Cups and Balls recently, like in the past week or so. Let me know how you are coming along. rikbrooks, nice feedback and suggestions.
Justin Hepton
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Surrey, in the UK
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You're welcome scomer10, I hope we can help each other along the way, feel free to PM me if you need anything!

Justin
"After the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box"



- Italian proverb
Pete Biro
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Keep it simple, do it do it do it until HANDLING the props becomes completely natural so you don't have to think about MOVES... it is NOT the moves, but it is the fun you can generate for those watching you.

The key is FLOW... one sequence has to flow into the next without any noticable transition... the routine just happens.

And it does NOT have to be very long... the cups and balls is BASICALLY a trip from the start to the big loads. The opening should be breezy the middle EASY FOR THE SPECTATOR TO FOLLOW... do nothing confusing... then the BIG BANG FINISH.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Robert Kohler
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Fayetteville, Arkansas
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I use 2 cups, 1 ball, one of the cups is chopped. I developed a really good routine that features vernon wand spin, penetrations, Don Alan moves, my own Fitzwilly cup spin, double final loads. Fries 'em....
We judge ourselves by our intentions - others judge us by our actions.....
<BR>
<BR>B. Wilson
twistedace
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Seriously take a look at Tommy Wonder's 2 Cup Routine. In my opinion it's one of the most well constructed and AMAZING routines on the cups and balls. Latimer's still comes second for me.
twistedace
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I will never do another 3 cup routine with pocket loads after learning the 2 cup routine from wonder.
Bill Palmer
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Every style of routine has its pluses and minuses. The disadvantages that Tommy Wonder points out in the three cup routines are advantages for some people. The main thing to avoid is confusion. The cups and balls should not be about confusion. If the routine looks confusing, then there is something wrong with it.

It should be direct and easy to follow. Then when the magic happens, the spectators will understand and enjoy it.

I tend to favor short routines, myself. I want the spectator to become so immersed in what he is seeing that he feels as if he is actually working the props.

Although the principles are similar, the goal of the three shell game is diametrically opposed to the cups and balls. The shell game is about confusion.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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rikbrooks
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Oh goodness, I hope that I didn't mislead you. My long routine is not the one that I perform. My long routine is just the entire repetoire of my favorite moves. My performing routine is 4-5 minutes with patter, audience interaction, etc.
Justin Hepton
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Some food for thought there and once again, I am indebted to Pete Biro and Bill Palmer for sharing your thoughts with me!

Very much appreciated!

Justin
"After the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box"



- Italian proverb
rikbrooks
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I was watching one of my DVD's on cups and balls just yesterday. Charlie Miller was the first of four or five performers. While he was being interviewed he said that he never does the routine the same way twice. I suspect this isn't normally the case. I attended a lecture with Max Howard a few weeks ago where he insisted that one should never deviate from the routine that they have chosen. He approaches any effect as an actor in a play. The script doesn't change.

There is great comfort in having a routine that is fixed. The performer doesn't have to think about the moves or the moves that are coming up. He doesn't have to think about the patter. He concentrates on the presentation.

I have to imagine though, that somebody like Charlie Miller, who approaches the cups as a revelation each time, has merit as well. There's a level of mastery that is required to pull that off well though.

As for me, I do my routine exactly the same way with almost exactly the same words most times. I do add a little phase or a flourish or a single move every now and then though. I only do that in the middle.

Dai Vernon, on Revelations 3, said that every routine should have an attention getting opening, a climactic finish, and you can sort of coast in the middle. The middle is where I would add any 'extra' moves. I don't know why I do it when I do, it's a matter of gut feeling. I do restrict it to small things and do keep it in the middle.

Another thought. I watched Gazzo do his cups and balls for 15 minutes once. Then again, 90% of the time he was interacting with the spectators, joking, walking around, etc. The actual routine would have probably been less than a minute had he done it straight.

The key, I think, is gauging your audience. I've done cups and balls that was nothing more than the beginning, then almost no middle, just a sort of nod to the middle, gathering the balls under one cup, then the ending.

So, while a 3-5 minute routine seems best, there are a lot of exceptions. That's why I keep practicing that long routine, so I have something ready whenever I need it.

Besides, I love playing with my cups.
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