Magicians struggle to keep art alive in modern world

They neither yell out spells at the drop of a hat nor do they attend wizarding schools like characters from the famed Harry Potter literary series but a clutch of people strive to keep alive performing magic, an art form, which faces extinction in absence of new innovations.

"I wouldn't expect a urban college goer to take up magic as a profession. There is no demand for a magic show elsewhere apart from big cities where people host big corporate parties," said Kabbir, a collegiate from Delhi, whose passion for magic tricks gradually led him to a performer.

Like Kabir, several others who participated at a Magic Festival held here at Dilli Haat feel the same.

"It is something you perfect after a series of failures, one must never fail to impress the viewer and the trade of magic is how well you can do that," says Eric Leclerc, a magician who flew down from Canada.

Leclerc who has been entertaining since he was a nine- year-old boy says, "My first audience was my mother, who gifted me a magic set during Christmas and I practiced with it until the day I stunned her with by a trick. That  was when I first became a magician."

However, he feels magic is a dying art.

"A magician gets to perform only at corporate parties these days" says Leclerc who is a renowned figure in Canada.

"If you go out and say I am a magician, people are nonchalant but once I make a coin disappear before them they are awestruck and believe you" he says.

On the other hand Ajay Bhargav who hails from Gwalior, feels magicians don't get their due since most of them rely on tricks that have already been seen by audiences who get to know the science behind it.

"There is no proper research that goes on, we rely on what our predecessors did, but this field has a lot to explore, we are nothing but artists who create illusions with our talking and hand movements to divert the attention of the viewer to perform a trick" says Bhargav.

He adds that it is difficult since there are thousands of artists performing the same art, made famous by the likes of magicians like P C Sorcar or Harry Houdini.

Magicians from across the world have limited their performances to birthday parties and corporate events, and at times fairs and festivals, but yet not as acclaimed as other forms of art, say artists.

"I would love to perform on the streets, if I get an opportunity to do so, at least I can get to the people and make it popular" says Kristina Melnik, an artist from Belarus.

She adds for a woman to establish herself in this field is even more of a challenge.

"As it is we require a lot of physical fitness to perform an act, it requires me to be fit every time though I generally use props that are more woman like" says Melnik.

For Eric Leclerc, a magic show competition, much like a music or dance competition could be an option to promote it as a form of performing art.

"It is the only time I would be nervous about performing, because I have to perform my in front of people who already know the trick" he says.

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