blog Performing Magic

Magic Around the World – Multicultural View of Magic and Magicians

magic around the world performing ren hoekI, Ren, am a Glad Hobbyist in Magic, and enjoying travelling and performing magic round the world when the opportunity arises. I all the time convey a bit of magic with me wherever I’m going and have discovered over time that there are specific things one must think about before performing magic in a overseas land.

As a result of ‘magic’ doesn’t imply the similar thing worldwide, as all of us discovered by way of this horrifying assault on Wayne Houchin back in 2012 whereas he was performing in the Dominican Republic:

magic around the world performing 1

And in case you don’t brazenly name your self a ‘magician’, but employ some of magic’s best methods, your troubles may be even larger:

magic around the world performing 2

To give you the most thorough advice attainable, I enlisted the help and recommendation from two skilled magicians: Wolflock (who has lived and labored in Thailand, China, and South Africa) and Karl Bravosky (who is aware of the North Africa/Morocco area quite properly).


magic around the world performing 3

I supply that these platitudes require some thought and turn out to be much more fascinating when contemplating a magician with intent to journey. Not simply because these are “good” issues, however because these might help hold you alive.

  • Should you don’t reside the place you’re, you’re a foreigner
  • Know the terrain
  • Know your audience
  • Get permission earlier than you carry out
  • Be culturally sensitive

Altitude (and Longitude)

magic around the world performing 4

On a current journey to Peru, our group went from sea degree to 3,800 meters overnight. Even the greatest educated athletes amongst us had pounding headaches and we all found ourselves brief of breath simply stepping back up into our bus after a rest cease.

magic around the world performing 5It took a few week before we might hike steadily at that altitude, and virtually 2 weeks before we might do our traditional degree of mountaineering with out noticing any shortness of breath.

What does this imply for magicians or performers?

If you’ll be acting at an altitude significantly greater than what you’re used to, plan to spend Three-5 days getting acclimatized earlier than your efficiency. This might apply to escapes or illusions which require any vital muscular effort/cardio capability (Straightjacket escapes, Tip Trunk modifications, lively stage choreography, and so on.),

The larger the altitude improve, the longer you must plan on getting used to the thinner air.

magic around the world performing 6Keep in mind to think about temperature and humidity when performing sleight of hand results in different nations. In humid, tropical environments (many elements of Thailand, for instance) common enjoying playing cards turn into damp inside minutes, and you’re left with a floppy handful of wet cardboard. I’ve found the “clear” Bicycle decks hold up and deal with nicely in such circumstances.

Cash and other props also grow to be harder to work with relying on the temperature of your palms and fingers.

For decent climate and sweaty arms, I’ve heard of the whole lot from applying foot powder to robust antiperspirant to magic around the world performing plasticthe palms to keep them dry. In my expertise, applying something to my palms soils the cards/coins/objects fairly shortly. As an alternative, I choose to keep a small absorbent material in my pocket. It keeps my efficiency on par and prevents my props from getting soiled and wanting unprofessional.

That will help you perform efficiently in the cold weather, Wolflock recommends:

“Slapping your hands together and rubbing hard before performing helps a lot. If you have big sleeves in your coat, tuck your hands into the opposite sleeves. This allows you to warm your hands on the opposite forearm and elbow. It also allows you to close the openings in the sleeves to trap the warmth inside. Another way is to tie two small bottles to a string which you can counterbalance around your neck. Fill them with hot water before you leave for the gig. They can be concealed beneath your coat. When your hands need warming, just tuck them in for a few seconds and grab the bottle. This will also keep your upper body warmed.”

Latitudes/Native Customs

magic around the world performing 8

Western notions of “personal space” don’t apply all over the place. In lots of japanese and Arabic nations, conversations take place literally nose to nose – or with individuals we might name ‘close talkers’.

In Thailand, I observed a bent for spectators to freely seize for a performer’s palms if that they had any suspicion that there was one thing being hidden. If this makes you uncomfortable, plan on having some type of bodily barrier between you and your (close-up) audience. Performing behind a table/bar works… as well as impeccable method. They will’t discover something in your arms in case you are clean! Karl mentions this similar tendency in North Africa with close-up audiences every so often making an attempt to succeed in into your hand (or pocket!) to prove to themselves it’s trickery and not the “work of the Devil”.

Wolflock reminds us: “Do not feel Bad if you do not get applause or even a smile of gratitude from some locals in certain Asian countries. Some of their customs are different from other places in the world where people might be more free with smiles or applause.”

Angle: Yours & Theirs

magic around the world performing 9


magic around the world performing renConfrontational types might play nicely in Las Vegas (I do take pleasure in The Superb Jonathan) but when travelling it’s necessary to think about how the “locals” behave. There’s not much call for belittling or poking enjoyable at the audience in Japan. Equally, Gazzo is a genius at audience administration and constructing a crowd, however not a great match for a (U.S) Southern Baptist Bible Camp.

The Goth stylings of many Criss Angel followers might play properly in a more city surroundings, however in elements of rural Appalachia they are seen as Satanists. When you’ve got an viewers there, they are busier praying for you than watching you perform.

It’s not needed to surrender your whole ‘persona’ or present once you travel, just remember of the place you’re and pay attention to the individuals round you. Giving this just a little bit of additional attention will solely serve to increase your reference to the audience and make your efficiency that a lot better.


Contemplate asking if individuals are serious about Magic Tips and get permission before performing road magic.

Jeff McBride tells of performing for somebody on the road in Jamaica: the spectator was frightened and ran away screaming “Black Magic!!!” Not a good way to make associates or construct a following!

“In South Africa, Many of the locals are OK with magic tricks. But MANY of the rural locals and some of the older generation believe in REAL magic. We still have Witch Doctors here and the locals believe strongly in their magic. I personally have performed in an area where a local Witch Doctor has his practice. He, obviously, did not like the fact that someone had more “magic ability” than him and advised everybody I was evil and that they had to get rid of me. I’m lucky to still be alive immediately. They might have easily killed me. I was lucky to get away with a badly battered physique and bruises. Likewise, a fellow performer did a fork bend routine and informed the spectator he might maintain the fork as a memento. The man tried to stab him with the fork because he believed it was evil and was sapping his good luck.”

– Wolflock

On Performing in Morocco:

magic around the world performing devil“If you do a magic trick on a popular street, they will look at you surprised. But instead of applauding, they will immediately want to get one of your hands open, or point to your pocket… or say loudly: “Allah Akbar”, which suggests ‘God protect me from this’.

When you do the similar trick in a nice quarter, for a more educated, affluent Moroccan, his reaction might be extra polite, nevertheless he’ll ask you things like: “… please, tell me…is the Devil involved with this…?”
[In another instance performing in Morocco] for a pre-recorded TV present, I was on my approach to execute the Multiplying Bottles routine. All was set and ready, and after a ultimate costume examine, I got here again to the studio… and my bottles had all disappeared! The Producer had gone ahead and taken the bottles as a result of, in Morocco, you are not IN PUBLIC allowed to do tips involving alcohol.”

– Karl Bravosky


When you don’t converse the local language, your well-rehearsed and humorous patter can be less than effective. Be prepared to swap-in effects that don’t require rather more than physique language for communication. Effects/routines which are very visual will work greatest.

Should you do plan to make use of some of the native tongue in your shows, make sure that (and then doubly positive!) that you realize precisely what you’re saying.

magic around the world performing 11

magic around the world performing 12

Physique Language/Cultural Taboos

In the US, the “OK” sign (index finger and thumb making a hoop, different Three fingers extended) isn’t an issue; in Italy the similar gesture means “*sshole” to the individual you’re signaling.

Signaling for somebody to return forward, palm up and shifting index finger might imply “come here” in many western cultures, but directed at a lady in India, the similar gesture is considered offensive.

Waving somebody away with either the backs or palms of both palms is a really impolite gesture in Egypt; our information there virtually bit off the head of another guide who was so gesturing to my wife. I requested what that meant (demonstrating the motion) and he stated merely “Don’t DO THAT!” I still haven’t any clue what it means.

In most Asian nations, you beckon someone to return by protecting your palm face right down to the ground and flicking your wrist backward and forward (just like what you’d do to tell someone to go away in Western nations).

In Thailand, the prime of the head is taken into account the closest to heaven so patting a toddler on the prime of the head is considered an affront and in very dangerous style. Because ft are thought-about “dirty” in Thailand, pointing the bottom of your ft or footwear at different individuals could be very impolite. Drop a coin and cease it from rolling away together with your foot? Depending on the locale, you may get crushed. Significantly. Why? Each piece of foreign money has their King’s portrait on it. Their King is very revered and liked. When you cease a coin together with your foot, you might have put your (filthy) foot on the head (closest to heaven) of their King. Some people simply gained’t take kindly to that!

magic around the world performing tip“If you wish, you are able to do something like pen through note with the kings head. It is dangerous to do, but when I did it, I made sure I used patter and an interpreter to explain the great power of Thailand’s good King. That he was able to withstand anything and was able to fix any problem. Not even a pen going through the money could harm him. I found that they accepted this patter VERY well and were happy with the story. They regard their king as almost godlike. Have respect for                                                                             other cultures and they will accept you and your show.”

– Wolflock

Morocco has comparable customs about defacing the image of the King on their cash.

What NOT to pack

  • Flash paper
  • Incendiaries
  • Used Hearth Wallets
  • Lighter Fluid

Don’t even contemplate flying with the stuff. It IS a low-grade explosive. The authorities gained’t care what lame rationalization you may need for smuggling ANY amount of flash paper/flash cotton. Should you need it in your act, organize to have it delivered prematurely of your arrival, or find a native supply. This additionally applies to any chemical compounds utilized in your present. If doing Stage exhibits with Hearth acts, be sure to know all the native laws and have permission from the venue to carry out hearth on their stage.

This cannot probably be an entire listing of potential intercultural slip-ups because it touches on just a few areas of the globe however I hope it is going to get you started considering of the greatest ways to perform your magic in cultures around the world.

I might love to listen to what others need to say in the comments of their own experiences performing magic round the world!

A Observe From Aaron Fisher –

I’d wish to thank Ren for this useful guide on learn how to travel together with your present and easy methods to ensure you assimilate sufficient that you’ll be able to successfully connect with and entertain your audiences.

And as Ren stated above: This information only covers a number of totally different regions of the world, so when you have any tales or input of your personal, we’d love to listen to what you must say in the comment part!