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David Blaine: Levitation



Effect
The magician raises his arms up by his sides and slowly appears to rise a few inches off the ground for a little while before returning to earth quickly.

Balducci Method
The Balducci method involves positioning your audience about 8 to 10 feet away at a 45-degree angle from you. You need to keep your audience small so they are within this field of sight. This is a very restrictive angle trick and it is essential that the angles be practised, preferably with a friend or in front of a mirror. The Balducci levitation involves pretending to float off the ground by going on to your tiptoes on just one foot (the one furthest from their view) while the nearest foot is raised a little off the ground. This looks fantastic as your trousers, the nearest foot and the angle they are watching at hide the foot on your tiptoe. You only rise a few inches off the ground but the impression is fantastic. This trick is all in the presentation with you appearing to rise slowly, wait for a second or two and then return to the ground quickly so as the audience do not have time to figure the trick out.

David Blaine Method
David Blaine used various camera shots in his TV special with the audience reaction being filmed close up and linked to other clips of him in mid air with some of the angles showing the Balducci Method. The special did not show the number of times he mucked up the illusion, which is very easy to do. The view that shows him rise a good few inches in the air and does not show the audience and would have been done with a bar attached to a pivot like a seesaw. The end of the pivot would have had a hook which clipped onto a harness attached to his belt and a member of the crew would have pushed down on the other side of the bar lifting David up in the air. The camera angle would have hidden the props. This film would have been mixed in with the audience clips in the studios later.

10 Tips to perform the perfect Balducci Levitation
1. Wear wide leg pants or slacks that come down just past your ankles. This dramatically helps cover the other foot.
2. Face the right angle - if your audience is at 6 o'clock and you are in the middle of the clock - face to 10:30 Or 11:00 away from them...
3. Only do the trick for 2 Or 3 people at a time - more than that create a bigger angle for you to deal with. Even better is only one person. You have to control which tricks you do and when. Do a trick when the deck is stacked in your faYour. Then let those few people talk and build rumours. Your reputation will be greater.
4. Don't stand too far away from your audience on the levitation... about 6 feet is good, up to about 10 feet.
5. Never, ever tell them that you are about to levitate. If you do that is will make them watch harder. You want a surprise element to it.... Almost as if they don't quite know what they saw.
6. Tell them you are going to TRY something.... It doesn't always work and you've only been able to do it twice before. Then move away to the approximate correct distance and somewhat turn your back to the 10:30 angle in order to concentrate. Then put your hands down by your sides and after a few moments slowly start to rise. Going up, hovering for a moment, and coming down should only take about 4 seconds total. Come down, look surprised yourself and say, "wow... it worked. Did you see that?"
7. If you are turned slightly to the left from them make sure your left foot remains parallel to the floor on LIFT OFF. (That's what gives a big part of the illusion is that foot's toes being up in the air,)
8. Practice rising up and down over and over.... Do it a million times – get it smooth and effortless.
9. Do a few smaller trick for them first... get them used to being affected by street magic and the fact that you can do it. Don't ever just jump into the Balducci Levitation as your first trick. Get them impacted first, and then say, "there was something I've done a couple of times, maybe I could do it now." It's especially good if you have done a couple of mind reading tricks right before it and they are thinking about the paranormal.
10. Practicing the levitation in a mirror is good, but if you have a video camera and can set it up on a tripod at eye level - exactly where your audience's eyes would be - is literally ten times better. It will improve your levitation dramatically. These tips if practiced should make your levitation skills much, much better.

Group Human Levitation

Effect
A person becomes seemingly weightless and may be lifted from a chair on the index fingers of four smaller people. Although various explanations have been proposed, this classic continues to mystify and amuse.

Stage 1
The person to be lifted (choose a fairly heavy person) should be relaxed but upright on a firm chair. Feet should be on the floor and hands on lap. The four assistants should stand two on each side, one by each shoulder and one by each knee. Each assistant should make fists with both hands, then extend the two forefingers and touch them together, gently but firmly the two assistants standing by the shoulders, place their extended forefingers under the seated persons right or left armpit. The other two assistants place their forefinger under the seated persons left or right knee.
Each assistant should make fists with both hands, then extend the two forefingers and touch them together, gently but firmly the two assistants standing by the shoulders, place their extended forefingers under the seated persons right or left armpit. The other two assistants place their forefinger under the seated persons left or right knee.
The person to be lifted thinks "down" and imagines him or herself to be sinking into the chair. In this position, the four assistants should try to lift the person.

Stage 2
The assistants should now place their palms on top of the seated persons knee or shoulders and together, exert a steady downwards force. While they are doing this someone counts out loud from one to ten. On the count of nine, the four assistants quickly take their former positions with extended forefingers under the armpit and knee. On the count often, they try again to lift the person. The seated person should think "up" and imagine him or herself rising into the air. If these instructions are followed carefully, the person will soar straight up into the air on the forefingers of the assistants. This trick is very visual and can really entertain a crowd.

Floating Bill And Small Objects Levitation

David Blaine demonstrated a classic object levitation on his TV special where he asks a spectator to watch while he picks up a leaf and causes it to levitate above his hand. This appeared to be totally impromptu which made it even more impressive. This type of levitation is performed by using "invisible Thread" which can either be purchased as a proprietary brand from good magic suppliers or by separating some fine polyester thread into individual strands and using a single strand. One end of this strand should be attached to some stick tape and placed in the mouth between the gum and cheek or a high shirt button while the other end can be placed at the right moment to a solid object (In David Blaine's case, the tree.) The magician then stands at the correct distance so that the string is tight and the object (a bill or a leaf) wrapped around the thread , which is above the magicians hand. This should look like the magician is just scrunching up the note in the palm of his hand. By using very small movements of the head or body, the magician can then tighten the thread causing the note to rise and is also able to move his hands around the object to show that it really is levitating. The object can then be made to return to the palm and be examined by the spectator. The magician can then casually walk away. The thread breaking which is not a problem as it is cheap. This trick is also performed more smoothly and discretely by use of an invisible Thread Reel, which is used by professional magicians.

Kundalini Rising Card Trick

This trick is of medium skill Effect
Using a borrowed deck, a card is selected, signed, and placed back into its pack. The pack is put inside its box for the spectator to hold. The magic happens in his hands, and slowly.... Miraculously ... the card starts to rise from the pack. The spectator immediately takes the signed card, and all can be examined after this David Blaine style trick has been performed.

Preparation
Buy a spool of invisible elastic from the local magic shop. It won’t cost a lot but the effect it provides is well worth it. With the elastic, cut off just a short enough thread to make a loop around your wrist. Tie the loop, and as long as you wear it everywhere you go, you're always ready for this effect.

Method
You can borrow a pack of cards or open a new deck in front of your spectator. Shuffle the pack to prove that they are in no particular order and give to the spectator to cut in two piles and to choose any pile that they want. Take the other pile and tell them they chose the pile they have for a reason and that a certain card is probably attracting them to it and with your back turned ask them to choose any card from the pile and to sign it. When your back is turned, you secretly vertically wrap the loop of invisible thread around your half of the pack. You can tell them that you're turning the other way and that the selection is pure honesty and that there's no way of knowing which card they would choose. Take the rest of the cards and put them with your half of the pack. Tell the spectator that their card is unique and that there is no other card in the world that looks like that one. You then take the card and plunge it into your half of the deck. Take all the cards and place them in the card box leaving it open. You then hand the box to the spectator and ask them to hold it and concentrate on the signed card. The signed card should slowly rise from the box to the amazement of the spectator. Take the card and show it to them before it has fully risen and while they are inspecting it, take the rest of the cards out of the box and remove the invisible thread where you can again slip it on your wrist. Everything is now ready for inspection and you can walk away.


Andruzzi Ascending
This trick is of medium skill

Effect
To perform the andruzzi levitation, the magician floats 6 inches off the ground with spectators in front and behind him.

Preparation
What you need to do is find a pair of hard rubber shoes. I use a new pair of casual adidas superstars, don't use leather shoes, or the prepared shoe will bend during the levitation. To prepare the shoe, you need to cut a hole on the bottom of your Lifting Foot. Make sure there's about 5mm in front and back of the shoe. I also recommended wearing black socks during the presentation.

Method
Go out and find up to four spectators. Place two of them behind you for the proper angles of the Balducci levitation. Say your lifting foot (the foot inside the prepared shoe) is your right. Have the other two spectators stand in front of you, but have them stand more to your left, and make sure they can still see both of your feet. Its then a simple matter, to slip your toes out of the uncut segment in the front of your shoe to do the normal Balducci levitation, come back down to the ground, slip your toes back into the segment, and walk away.

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