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Profile of Lothar
How important is dancing to a show? I know dancers are a common staple to a show, but what about the magician? Do I need to know how to dance? Couldn't I just let the asst dance and I just point and open the doors?
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Inner circle
The Holy City of East Orange, NJ
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Profile of Spellbinder
Is that why you became a magician, to just point and open doors? Why not let one of your talented dancing assistants do that and you just sit in the audience and watch?

Can you learn to dance? I don't know. Have you learned to do a coin roll or a card pass? Which is easier to learn?
Professor Spellbinder

Professor Emeritus at the Turkey Buzzard Academy of Magik, Witchcraft and Wizardry

Publisher of The Wizards' Journals
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Inner circle
Teacher and Legend
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Magic dancing is deliberate misdirection. Moves that are interpretive of the music yet distract from the stage action.
I love to dance as I perform, but it is not Alvin Ailey, it is just enough to get the audience into the action with me.
I love hitting music cues at the impact point of a vanish. Of course, I do the dancing cane really slow as if it is my dance partner. Over-extension of arm and back feels so good.
I use magic as a vehicle to dance, even sing and of course act. Magic gets me the stage, once on I combine all of my skills. Just like repertory theater.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
22821 Posts

Profile of Bill Hegbli
Illusionist use dancers mainly to make their illusions interesting and to stretch the time for the trick. Just think, buying a trick that cost thousands of dollars and it is over in a few minutes. That means you need more illusions to fill the time of the show. If you can afford it, you don't need the dancers. Great excuse to buy a Semi Tractor Trailer rig. Go for it!

Do you need to know how to dance, it all depends. how much rhythm do you have? Dance instruction would also help you move correctly on stage.
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Profile of MagicalMotivator
An artist will always seek to use something outside of their own comfort level - or their familiarity - and bring it into their work - that is how they grow and develop "their own persona and style" - serious performers have - and still do - study foreign elements that will increase their "performance abilities" (dance, voice, mime, theatre production, comedy, acting, etc) - personally, my very early lessons in dance (modern - tap - jazz - ballet) allowed me to realize I would never be a professional dancer (thankfully), but, would allow me to some degree move like one - or at the very least not trip over my own feet on stage - this in turn adds grace to my on stage performance and movement- I also have been known to hire dance instructors or choreographers to critique my illusion / stage performances and give me the fine tuning needed in our routines - bottom line - seek not to become a dancer, but become a student of movement and what it entails - just my humble opinion.
Rick Rossini The Magical Motivator
George Ledo
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SF Bay Area
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Dancing is important to a show if -- and only if -- the nature of the show itself calls for it. Call it the story, or the style, or the presentation, or the statement, or whatever you want to call it: if it adds to the whole, then it belongs there. If not, then it doesn't belong there.

I've seen way too many magic acts where so-called "dancing" is introduced just to fill up time, or to pretend it's a bigger show than it is. But it doesn't do squat for the overall performance. It's worse than distracting. And in some cases it hasn't even been choreographed for effect, or performed by people who can even pretend to dance. Keep in mind that there will be people in the audience who can dance, or who have been trained in dance, or who just appreciate dance, and who will be totally distracted by bad "dancing." It's like a non-musician playing an instrument because he thinks he will impress people with it, only to have exactly the opposite effect on those who do know music.

On the other hand, taking some dance lessons for the explicit purpose of learning how to move is a fantastic idea. Back when I was heavily involved in ballroom dancing, I took some ballet, tap, jazz, and cabaret lessons just to help improve my movement on the ballroom floor. And it worked very well for me.
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Kent Wong
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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I don't do any dancing in my show and I don't incorporate any dance numbers. I don't have anthing against dance; it just doesn't happen to fit within the show. Having said this, I have taken extensive dance lessons and I do use many of the techniques within my show. Dance helps tremendously with posture, stage movement, timing, rhythmn and even pantomime. So, even if you don't plan on incorporating dance routine into your show, I think it still remains a valuable skill worth learning.

"Believing is Seeing"
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Inner circle
Charleston, SC
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Profile of mrunge
Gotta dance? Nope! Not unless you want to.

Mark. Smile
Chris Stolz
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Mississauga, Ontario
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I've used dancers on and off over the years, most recently in a fund raising show I put on over the summer. In that recent case, they were brought in as a separate featured act to add some variety to the show. On a technical level, it gave me a chance to grab a drink and get ready for the next effect. The audience got to know them as our "special guest act" and it didn't detract from the magic at all.

When I have the option I like to mix the dancers into the show - integrating the magic and dance together. Dance can be a fantastic way to tell a story as long as the magic is a part of that same story. (999 shows out of 1000 I don't have dancers) I for one don't dance in my show because I'm 6'3" and look less like Rick Thomas and more like Chandler when I dance!

If you want to see dance used well check out Rick Thomas. I think the fact that he too is a part of the dance adds to the entire experience.
Oliver Ross
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You've got excellent replies to your question. Oner thing I would like to add is that you don't need to know to dance, BUT you should know how to move your body in a elegant way. David Copperfield don't know to dance, he learned the body movements in his illusions from Joanie Spina. He just supported his assistant in their dancing role which was only used to enhance the illusion and the emotion of the story plot.
Check out his magic shows of the 90th (Origami, Interlude, Pole Levitation, Attic, Cocoon...) Usually he only uses dance in his illusions where the feeling of love was involved. One of the exceptions is his Laser illusion.

Anyway, one thing is clear, there has to be a reason to dance, not just to stretch the act. Personnally I hate to see illusion acts, which start with a 2 minutes dance act without any reason. But this is just my opinion.

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Inner circle
Tucson, AZ
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Profile of chmara
Body motion and cpntrp; -- yes. Dance maybe. CHOREOGRAPHY definitely -- particularly in prop position, moverments to get there and operate THEN accep[t applause while maintining control of the stage.
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

Commercial Operations, LLC

Tucson, AZ

C. H. Mara Illusion & Psychic Entertainments
Oliver Ross
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Inner circle
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Profile of Oliver Ross
Excellent Chmara !

That's the word I was looking for : Choreography !

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las vegas
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Profile of cc-magic
Doug Henning's program for his show is the reason I began taking dance. He said that you should take dance to help you onstage. I started taking ballet, tap, and jazz right away. It became another life interest for me besides magic and even a university degree and career in dance companies all over the US. Now, it is an important part of the illusions and routines I create.

Dance will provide better posture and presence onstage.
It also provides an excellent understanding of how to use the space of the stage, understanding of focus, levels, and so much more.
It's an excellent way to remove that awkwardness in movement that you see so many magicians and illusionists have.
If you find a good dance teacher, they may also influence your magic in many ways. Many dancers and choreographers create dance pieces with meaning, telling stories and getting ideas across with just the body. How can that not be a positive influence on magic routining?

I am also a proponent of using professional dancers as assistants for illusions. Girlfriends, wives, or the girl you met at the coffee shop don't really have the knowledge of how to stand, move smoothly, point feet, pose, use arms.

Please think about it and consider taking a class.
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Myrtle Beach , S.C.
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Profile of CMMAGIC
I have dance lessons tonight -3x a week !! Its good to be well rounded -and have good solid , stage movements.
- Carl Michael -
Frequent performer at top night clubs such as Mansion Miami , PURE Las Vegas , Marquee Vegas , and Veranda NYC . 2012 and 2013 Reader's Choice Magician of the Year. Currently headlining in my own stage show in Myrtle Beach . Follow on twitter , Instagram and ViNe @CMMAGIC
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
18558 Posts

Profile of Pete Biro
Lothar: Get in touch with Joanie Spina. She'll give you the straight scoop, based on you and your act.
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