When hip-hop and breakdancing add to real magic
With the prevalence of digital culture today, British magician-dancer Richard Essien—or Magical Bones—conceded that it had become increasingly difficult to impress people with magic tricks.
A rabbit being pulled out by a white-gloved illusionist? That’s old news. These days, Richard observed, it’s not so much about the tricks themselves, but the style in which they’re presented.
“People now are more fascinated by your personality. They look into the person—who you are, how you do magic. You have to be different. And I can say that there’s only one Magical Bones,” Richard told the
Inquirer in a recent interview.
“In whatever I do, I try to bring my personality across as much as possible,” added Richard, who’s part of the London West End magic show “Impossible,” which will have a
holiday run at Smart Araneta Coliseum from Dec. 25 to Jan. 3, 2018, (Call 911-5555).
His shtick consists mostly of acrobatic feats, card tricks and object conjuration—cards, coins and just about anything he can put his hands into.
To spice things up, Richard, who was a professional dancer before pursuing magic, incorporates his background in hip-hop and breakdancing into his routines.
And he’s inclined to believe that marrying those art forms makes his performances more relatable to younger audiences.
“The new generation wants to see newer interpretations of magic. Many of us love music, so when people see me doing hip-hop, they think it’s pretty cool,” said Richard, who’s also the star of the television show, “Around the World in 80 Tricks.”
Richard had worked as a dancer for different music acts’ music videos and television performances, including those of Madonna, Alicia Keys and the Black Eyed Peas.
“I used to bring a deck of cards to shoots, so I could do tricks for everyone while we were waiting or during breaks,” said Richard, who got interested in magic at age 10 and in dancing at 17. “I have always loved doing both, but as
I got older, I started to pursue magic seriously. I found it more challenging.”
Aside from having a unique showmanship, Richard stressed that coming up with original tricks is just as crucial. He’s never not tinkering with random objects he could possibly use for his routines. “I will have cards or a coin, and just mess about and see what works and what doesn’t,” he said. “And when you have a hit, you have a hit.”
For Richard, there’s no better way of putting a new trick to the test than going out and showing them to people on the streets. “Sometimes, I would use viewers’ belongings so the trick feels more real and immersive,” he said, adding that he avoids showing his new tricks to his friends.
“If you keep doing it on the streets, you will get good eventually, because you get honest feedback. If someone doesn’t like what you do, he or she will let you know,” Richard pointed out. “Friends might be kinder, so you don’t really get an accurate sense of whether what you’re doing is good or not.”
Of course, constant practice is a must. “People want to be amazed or wowed, so I make sure everything is polished and technically sound before performing them onstage,” he said.
Mounted by Wilbros Live, “Impossible” features a diverse lineup of magic performers. Also taking the stage in Manila are escapologist Ali Cook, mind reader Chris Cox, illusionists Ben Hart and Josephine Lee, as well as the comedic daredevil Bello Nock.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.