How many times have you been to a magic show and watched open-mouthed at a human floating in the air?
This is one of the tricks which never fails to draw gasps from the audience irrespective of the variations – instead of a human being it might be an object, a card or many times the magicians themselves.
Known as levitation, it is an art which has formed an important part of magicians arsenal since ancient times and if performed successfully could prove to be the reason for their worldwide fame.
Magic levitation was popularized by David Copperfield who performed many impressive tricks involving this concept in his live shows as well as on television. Some of his best performances which earned him worldwide repute entailed levitating on stage into a box, flying across the Grand Canyon and making the Statue of Liberty disappear.
While these were dramatic stage performances, there is yet another magician who is equally responsible for making extensive use of magic levitation but not on stage.
David Blaine is well known for performing levitation on the streets and also deserves the credit for trying out Balducci levitation along with its many variations.
As an inquisitive mind would rightly wonder, how is it possible for people and things to float in the air without any support when physics decries otherwise?
We are taught about the law of gravity which renders floating for material objects impossible and yet these magicians flout this law with such aplomb and grace as if it was second nature to them.
For a long time magicians enjoyed being regarded with awe and admiration by keeping levitation secrets close to their hearts and letting people think of it as a supernatural power which they may have been blessed with.
This is a great documentary on the history of Levitation; watch the video below.
It was David Blaine who shattered this illusion to pieces by demonstrating the techniques on television as well as in his street performances and thanks to him it is now possible for anyone to learn how to levitate.
Training for magic levitation commences with understanding mentalism and mastering its technique, meaning learning to control the thinking of the audience and keeping them distracted over an extended period of time.
This requires a generous dosage of showmanship not only in being able to maintain non-stop conversation but in terms of clothes as well.
Carrying many interesting accessories, frills and extra clothing is distracting enough and when coupled with humorous jokes and banter, it is a perfect setup for performing levitation.
Of course, practice and persistence play an equally important role in being able to levitate successfully.
Everyone wants to learn levitation but a strong recommendation is to be cognizant with two aspects related to it:
firstly that it is not a
result of a magic spell but must come from within the individual and
secondly it requires much dedication in terms of time and efforts.
Levitation practice at home starts with sitting at the table and focusing on your fingers, controlling your breathing and mentally letting go of everything. Persisting with this exercise would enable you to raise your finger without putting in any effort.
Once this is mastered the focus can be shifted to the entire hand followed by the feet and so on.
Actual levitation is difficult to attain and master which is why many of the levitation tricks performed on stage are in reality illusions. Some of the common levitation tricks are couch levitation, cup levitation, group levitation and self levitation which is performed standing up.
Couch levitation entails involvement of an assistant on stage and another one back-stage, while for the audience it is thrilling to watch a shrouded woman floating in mid-air and then disappearing.
The essence of this trick lies in the specially prepared couch, but thanks to the expert showmanship of the magician the audience is so distracted that no-one pays any attention to the couch or its design.
Likewise cup levitation entails making a Styrofoam cup float in mid-air and this is accomplished by preparing a cup especially for the show.
At the end, it is the thumbs of the magician holding up the cup while the rest of the fingers are spread outwards like the wings of the birds giving the impression of the cup floating in the air.
Balducci levitation, which David Blaine specializes in, happens when the magician creates the illusion of being raised a few inches above the ground.
This requires plenty of practice with shoes and necessary accessories and should be performed for only a short duration.
The beauty of magic levitation is best revealed when it is performed impromptu whether it is using a dollar bill, a cup or yourself.
It is more effective in this way because people will realize that it has taken place without any set-up, and hence would be convinced that it is indeed pure magic.
To watch David Copperfield fly, click here