Sleight of Hand Magic
Sleight of hand is the name for the hidden skill/manipulations of the magician that when put together in a sequence can create an effect or trick. The most crucial part of this is the hidden aspect; the audience must not see the secret techniques or there is no illusion, it turns it from being “magic” to a poor quality display of skill. The contrast to sleight of hand is a flourish; a flourish is an overt display of skill like cutting the cards with one hand… basically “showing off”.
Many magicians utilise displays of skill in their performances. Stage manipulation magicians intersperse a lot of their performance with various flourishes to highlight their skill. They can be very entertaining and hark back to the iconic image of the suave sophisticated stage conjuror.
Close up Sleight of Hand Magician
Close up magicians fall into three main categories when it comes to flourishes:
- Some use no displays of skill, the thought being that if the audience witness extreme levels of dexterity they won’t be able to suspend disbelief long enough to experience astonishment.
- Some will add the occasional flourish to their magic performance as a little piece of “eye candy”, but it’s not a constant in their magic.
- Lastly, some include lengthy sequences of flourishes and displays of skill. They wish to astound spectators with beautiful card manoeuvres, flicks and tricks. The downside is that some deem this “juggling” and it can impact the reaction to any magic effect included in the routine. You can’t believe a card jumped from one place to another if you’ve just seen the magician spring the card from hand to hand.
Noel has been obsessed with sleight of hand since he got his first book on magic aged 11 and travels a couple of times a year to attend magic conferences, watching demonstrations and learning the very latest techniques. Many companies including Sky Television, Aviva and Samsung have called on Noel to provide card shuffling, flourishes and dealing for TV adverts, idents and online advertising.
Sleight of Hand Magic in the Real World
Sleight of hand can also come into use in real life as well. The American illusionist David Copperfield used a well known magician’s ruse to show that he had empty pockets when he was accosted in the street by a mugger. This saved him from losing his mobile phone, passport and wallet so it’s a useful skill to have!
You may have heard the old idiom that “the hand is quicker than the eye”, well that just isn’t true. However magicians utilise psychology, sleight of hand, communication (both verbal and non verbal) and misdirection so you aren’t looking in the right place at the right time, and even if you were, done right most sleight of hand is almost invisible. The other thing to say is that sleight of hand is rarely performed quickly; speed isn’t essential to make it deceptive. In fact the opposite is true and any quick or jerky movements will attract the eyes of the onlookers.
Sleight of hand can also be used to cheat in gambling games and street cons like Chase the Ace, Find the lady or the Three Shell Game. Obviously if you are losing money to the operator in the street or the “card mechanic” in a poker game then it’s really bad news, but this can also make very good entertainment if it’s performed by a top level sleight-of-hand cardshark as part of a show. Noel can bring this to your event – fill in the enquiry form and ask Noel about the cardshark show.
Remember – five’ll get ya ten and and ten’ll get ya twenty…maybe.