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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Body loads and steals (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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magic4u02
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Philadelphia, PA
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There has been so much talk lately on manipulation and manipulative objects such as cards, coins and billard balls. But the subject of body loads and the proper way to make such steals does not often get discussed enough.

I would like to bring up this topic for discussion as I feel it is so very important for the manipulative student. Too many of us do not learn proper technique and we make up our own moves thinking we have it down.

What methods do you use to make a body steal?

Where are your body loads placed on your body?

How do you turn when the steal is made?

Here are just a few observations on the subject:

I always notice that most magicians overextend their movement when they are making the move. They try and cover the right side angle so much, that the body turns and ends up exposing the entire left side.

Another common problem is that the placement of the load is too far up or too far back on the body. This causes the arm and elbow to come up and outward when making the move. This is an awkward movement that always gets spotted by audiences.

Make sure to have your load at arms length or in a spot where a natural movement can allow you to obtain what you need.

The other common pitfall is that the magician can not stop themselves from looking down at the area where the move is taking place. This becomes bad misdirection and leads the eyes to where it should not be.

The other pitfall is the lack of logical misdirection when a move is to take place. There needs to be misdirection before any move is performed. The proper misdirection allows the move to seem natural and there for is never noticed.

A simple production of a silk at the fingertips makes a logical movement that will allow for the body load to me made.

I hope this helps others. There is a great chapter about this in the Geoffry Buckingham book.

Kyle
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altoni
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For me, steals are about natural movement, flow, and redirection of the audience’s attention. This becomes part of the choreography. This choreography also needs to be flexible, because as a performer we often find ourselves in situations that we may not have anticipated.

Bad angles, cameras on you, a balcony with eyes looking directly down at you. When the movements are natural and the redirection good, you can steal a bowling ball, and a lot of magicians have.

Al
maylor
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england
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I'm glad you've brought this up Kyle, it truly is an important area that is often overlooked.

The one thing that has helped me above all else, is the use of a video camera. The camera really shows just how bad/good those steals are - as with any move really.

I used to hit those problems you talk about Kyle. Overturning and the sticking out elbow are classic errors. The thing is, once you're in the habit of making these errors - it's difficult to get out of.

It really becomes a conscious effort to sort it out. The camera is great for this.

With reference to the misdirection- my act involves dancing - and thus the moves provide a good way to steal stock from the body whilst arousing no suspisions (thats the aim anyway!).

Does anybody carry spare stock, just in case they drop some? Wouldn't be too funny when up on stage! Anybody got any unusual methods of stealing stock?

All the best,
Darren.

Al - I take it you don't have the bowling ball strapped to the hip!
magic4u02
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Darren brings up a very good point. You must practice with the use of a camera or someone who knows what they are looking at.

It is very important to fix bad mistakes before they become habit. Once they become habit, it becomes very difficult to learn the proper way and change what you are comfortable with. As Darren suggested, a video camera is perfect for this practice.

In my card act I do carry extra stock in clips as well as in my table in case I need it. I always have "outs" for every part of my act.
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boltt223
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Any time I make a change to my act, I use a video camera to see what needs work. Then I can go back and view what is taking place. The other day I was watching an old video and saw a sequence that I had put together and forgot about. I am using it once again.

Darren, I too use dance moves to cover steals and just mixed new music for my routine. I used only dance music this time. So far so good. Smile
magic4u02
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Dance moves are great for making steals but it is still important that the steals be done correctly and you still must use proper misdirection.

In any steal you must watch your angle of your body as well as the positon of your elbow and keep your eyes and focus away from where the steal is taking place.

What methods do you guys use for making your steals and what sequeunce works best for you?
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maylor
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I used to steal a stock of cards from my hip whilst busting a moonwalk. Worked really well.

Most of my steals are from this area although I do steal one load from my left chest area with my left shoulder angled towards the audience and my left hand doing a production for misdirection (if that makes sense?!) Smile

I don't use that many sneaky steals, i.e. pretending to put something in my pocket but secretly retaining it. But only because the content of my act doesn't warrant it. I think these can work well though - provided it is acted out well. I think the secret with these is that you yourself have to believe you have put it in your pocket. Sounds strange, but I think it makes a difference.

All the best. Darren.
magic4u02
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One of the best methods for doing a steal is to have the load at arms length when your arm rest naturally by your side. This means that when you do the steal, your arm is in a natural and relaxed state and there is no movement at all and no chance of the elbow sticking out too much.

If your going to steal anything from your jacket at waist height, a good method I have used is to turn my body slightly and reach for a silk or an object on my table. This reaching is the misdirection and cause my right hand to easily fall into the jacket to make the steal. As my body turns, my arm does not move, but the jacket moves closer to it. It is hard to describe but if you try it, I think you will see what I mean.
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altoni
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"Al - I take it you don't have the bowling ball strapped to the hip!"

No, Maylor, I wore it around my neck behind a large medallion made from a hubcap. From five feet away the illusion was perfect. I did this back in the 70s when you could get away with wearing that kind of garish jewelry.

Oh yes, I bore a hole in the ball and use a large hairpin to hold it. The (large) hairpin I found in a novelty shop.

Al
magic4u02
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Hee hee hee, Man what we magicians do to entertain an audience.

Smile
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altoni
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And other magicians! Glad you liked it.

Al
boltt223
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Kyle,
In my latest billiard ball routine I was working, I did my steal while I was doing some dance moves and I point off stage. While I was practicing the new moves I had asked my wife to specifically watch and see if she noticed the steal. When I was done with that segment, I asked "how did it look?" she answered, "I don't know, I looked where you were pointing." Misdirection! What a beautiful thing. Smile
Bob Sanders
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Body loads make up nearly half my act when I am on stage alone. The hardest thing for me was learning to always move my arms toward the audience during a steal instead of up or to a side. The audience has very real depth of field vision problems when it comes straight at them. Use it against them.

The second hardest thing for me to learn was to not expose what had been stolen until the time was right. There is no hurry! Use the music and timing to get the best response from a production.

I prefer wire painted flat black to nylon for loops on my loads. (Thank you, Pete Peterson where ever you are!) Wire can be bent down to the front of my coat or vest and is easily found by feel without looking when the time comes. It also never shines in the stage lights. In a wreck (and if you do enough magic, they will happen) the wire can be use to crush the silk and bird harness into a smaller more controlled package for ditching. I've never caught a bird's foot in wire. But Nylon seems to attract them. Nylon also hangs on buttons. Do I ever use Nylon anyway? YEP! It is more elastic for long moves.
Bob Sanders

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magic4u02
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Pointing is very good but should not be overdone. Also pointing should only be used as misdirection if it totally makes sense to your act and there is a logical reason for pointing. I am sure your pointing was a part of the act and you hgave reason for doing it right?
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maylor
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That's true Kyle. If the magician is found pointing at nothing, then isn't there the feeling in the audience that they have some how been duped? i.e. suspecting you have done something whilst you have been 'making' them look at nothing. Then if you make something appear from your other hand - some may figure out what you have just done.

However, if you are pointing at something that has just appeared, then the audience has no need to suspect anything. If you are doing this, I think it is a good idea!
magic4u02
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A good rule of thumb is that your misdirection should appear 100% logical. There should be a logical reason for doing what it is you are doing. It should never be a case of you having to do soemthing because you have to make a steal.
Kyle Peron

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Bob Sanders
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How pointing is used is a major difference between performing live and on camera. There is no zoom in a live performance. Pointing in a live performace has to be the cue for the audience to perform a zoom for themselves. It tells were to look.

On camera, the producer and/or director determine that. I have done TV commercials over the years and learned that the magician may not even have a head. Therefore, the audience cannot tell where he is looking.

Likewise, after performing in a commercial for a drink bottler, I learned that the camera never left the table top although at one point both hands disappeared from the screen. Pointing would have been a total waste. Pointing has to be in frame to serve any purpose.
Bob Sanders

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Dougini
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Good info here, guys!

I'd like to come up with a way to deliver to the waist level...ala "hold out". I've been using wire holders for my Ireland Golf Balls set. Reaching out and rolling the ball from shell, with an upward, sweeping motion, draws the eyes to that, while a subtle steal is done right in front of their eyes!

Kind of hard to describe...hmmm..ok, left side facing audience, load hangs just above waist-level from my vest, on left-hand side...the act of reaching with the right hand, and rolling the ball into view, covers the act of squeezing a ball from the holder (from outside the vest), and the ball just falls into place.

I think the term is, "Larger move covers the smaller move..."

I mean, you CAN get away with a body steal RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM! Smile It's worked for me for more than twenty years...now, as for a bowling ball...that's something I would expect from John Carney! Smile

Doug
magic4u02
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Doug:
That seems right and should work well for you. I might make two pointers to see if you are doing it that way already. if not, they may help you.

1) hold your hand in a relaxed state at around waist level long before you make the steal. This gets the audience relaxed and they get comfortanble with your hand being there. It does not look unatural to them if all of a sudden your arm is waist high when it has not been for the first part of the act. I call this "priming" the audience.

2) When you make the steal using the roll out appearance of the ball, tilt your body 45 degrees so that tha arm making the waist steal is slightly turned away from the front of the stage.

I hope these make sense to you. You may already be doin these but they are tips that have worked for me.

Kyle
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Dougini
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Thank you Kyle!

Yes, that's right...kind of difficult to describe, but essentially, I really don't even think about it, as it's long become second nature...

Sorry it's taken so long for me to get to these posts, as I can only sit at the computer for a few minutes at a time...(got the flu...bad. Didn't think I was going to make it there, for a while, LOL)

Better now, but still recovering....

Doug
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