Types of Magic
When you think of magic, the first thing which may come to mind is a man in black tuxedo, inexplicably extricating a rabbit from a top hat. Or a performing with a female assistant, whom it appears, he has sawed in half, Magic is performed for people in order to amaze and thrill them and to make the audience believe that a supernatural act has occurred. A kind of performing art, magic has been around for centuries in various forms. It is believed that magic was being performed as far back as the 16th and 17th centuries. In fact, magic may go back even farther, as the Ancient Egyptians, Greek and Romans believed in the supernatural and its powers upon the human race. Even in the Middle Ages in Europe, alchemists believed that it was possible to turn worthless metal into gold.
Magicians sometimes prefer to be called "illusionists," as they perform acts of illusion and not necessarily magic "tricks" which can have a negative connotation. Famous modern magicians include David Blaine, David Copperfield, Penn and Teller and Harry Houdini. There are different kinds of magic that may be performed, including Close-up Magic, Club Magic and Stage Magic and Mentalism. Each of these kinds of magic include sub-categories or styles, as for example, Club magic may include sleight of hand, mentalism, escape artistry and conjuring. The type of magic performed is selected by the magician or illusionist, according to his or her own style, and may depend on the space or arena in which he or she is working.
Styles of Illusions
There are different types of illusions that magicians may perform. For instance, a magician may use vanishing or making himself or a person or object disappear as if by magic. Another type of illusion is teleportation of causing something to appear as if it has changes places or positions, for no apparent reason or by an unseen force. Another type of illusion is levitation, in which an illusionist appears to make an object or person rise, where no platform or support is beneath.The type or style of illusion often depends upon the venue that the performer selects, as it will either accentuate or inhibit his or her show.
Also known as micro-magic, this type of magic is performed in a small space, and could be done at a party, wedding, or even on the street. Prestidigitation, or "sleight of hand" is an act in which a magician uses his hands to move or manipulate objects. A card or coin trick,or cups and balls might be kinds of prestidigitation that are performed. Generally, the magician uses small props either brought with him, or from a member of the audience and makes them disappear, and then reappear or inexplicably alters them in some way. It is typical for a magician doing a close-up act to involve audience members.
Club or Parlor Magic
This type of magic involves a magician performing in a larger venue than with Close-up Magic, and might have the magician performing with a small tabletop or even small live animals such as rabbits or birds. Also, the magician might employ props such as ropes and balloons or involve an audience member. A night club or comedy club are suitable places for club magic, which is also known as stand-up, parlor or platform magic.
Stage magic involves performing in front of a larger area or audience, perhaps in an auditorium or arena. The magician uses large-scale props and machinery to do his acts. For example, a magician might use a box and saw to give the illusion that he's sawing the body of a woman in half, or a box in which an audience member or assistant is placed inside, seems to disappear, and then is transported. An example of a stage magician is David Copperfield or Harry Blackstone.
Mentalism is a form of magic or illusionism in which the performer appears to defy nature with special powers of the mind. Any sort of venue will suffice for this type of magic, as it need not involve props. The magician may give the impression that he or she can predict the future or may try and read the mind of a member of his audience. The different kinds of metalism acts include hot or cold readings, mind control, psychokinesis (bending or moving an object), extra-sensory perception and clairvoyance, to name a few. One example of a famous mentalist is George Joseph Kresge, Jr. The Amazing Kreskin, an American magician who was popular during the 1970s.
Styles of Magic:
There are different styles of magic which illusionists may choose to perform. Shock magic is quite simply meant to shock or disturb audiences, this type of magic is grotesque and is meant to stir up the audience with shock or horror. For example, the illusionist may appear to be piercing his own body with a blade or sword.
An escapologist, or escape artist is performs acts in which he quite simply escapes from what appears to be impossible circumstances. For instance, the magician may be submerged underwater, or enclosed in a sealed box or in chains. For example, Harry Houdini was an escapologist or escape artist.
As its name states, children's magic is performed for children, and may be done at a setting where children are to be present, such as a school or birthday party.
Seances are magic performances that mimic spiritual effects. It is not to be used as though the magician were speaking with the dead or non-present parties is "conjuring" spirits.
As its name suggests, street magic is done on a public street and requires small props such as cards, cups and balls or coin tricks. David Blaine sometimes uses street magic. Oftentimes, magicians who perform this style of magic confront unsuspecting people or audience members in order to prompt interaction. That is, the tricks may be more impromptu in nature than with a planned or stage performance.