TJlE Tap PanclN A

Described by Michael Ammar

You, as a reader, are participating in a literary event of genuine historic significance. By making his act available to the readers of the JOURNAL, Paul will undoubtedly give the magic field another shaking up.

To ask 'Who else does this?' would not be the right question. A better question would be 'Who else COULD do this?' How many people do you know with a close-up act of original routines, presentations, and patter that has successfully served them professionally for over a decade? This filter alone eliminates 98% of the magicians I know!

Before diving into the act itself, let's run through the basic structure of his show. In the process, I hope to bring to light factors of deeper value than the moves and presentations that follow. By doing this, maybe I can balance out the potential dangers of making things 'easy.'

By 'easy' I mean we've literally given you everything. The words, the moves, the thoughts, the timing, the structure. Nothing is buried, glossed over, or left obscure. What's dangerous about that? Well... I'm sure you've heard the saying, 'Give a man a fish, and you feed him for the day...' Paul's material is so technically attainable, and his patter so very funny, that many will just memorize it as is. And if you do that, you'll miss the larger lessons this act can teach you. Character lessons. Structure lessons. Theatrical lessons. Human engineering lessons.

For example, with Paul's opening sentence, he establishes his willingness to laugh at himself and to see things in a different way. In his opening effect. Free Flight, he immediately displays skill (with the coin-rolls) in a way seldom seen by the public. Also, he breaks through The Fourth Wall,' establishing this as an interactive event, with no barriers between audience and performer. His performing attitude is not 'Here I am!,' but rather, There YOU are.'

But there is a more subtle reason for using Free Flight (see Index) as an opener. By using a card not as a card, but as a side prop, Paul feels he lowers possible resistance to magic with cards. He hopes to make their initial exposure to card magic painless enough to prevent opposition when the deck itself is introduced.

Further, when Paul does bring out the cards, he makes a point of opening with a distinctly uncommon event. In BIOLOGICAL SHUFFLE (see Index), he takes the single most common action with cards - the act of shuffling - and does the unheard of with it. He shuffles his hand into the deck. Often, he'll substitute LAS VEGAS SPLIT (see Index) in this position. There he takes a Two and visibly tears it into two Aces. Needless to say, few laymen have seen such physical impossibilities with a deck. (For those not familiar with this, it requires a top change of a Two for two Aces held as one card. Not easy!) In either case, the cards are used in a totally non-card-like way.

Moving into Tap Dancing Aces, once again, his theme is that these props are actually animated characters. Something with more depth, meaning, and substance than the inanimate objects they actually are.

TJJL INcrepi&LL TAP PANCINC; ACL6

(First published as "La La's Lu Lu" in "Intimate Secrets" then later revised in "Las Vegas Close-Up.")

"It's comforting to know that a new routine which starts off as just another pretty face, can catch your fancy - steal your heart - and actually develop into a lifelong friend. 'The Incredible Tap Dancing Aces' is one such routine. At first, I considered it to be merely very good. But the audience's response vastly exceeded 'very good' and (I must be truthful) bordered on 'very, very good!' This surprising turn of events gave me cause to re-evaluate this little fella's potential.

After consulting with expert cardicians and professional laymen, I decided to completely re-structure the routine. I scrubbed my hands, donned my surgical mask, kissed my nurse on her forehead, then started by amputating a "weak palm."

E-FfELCT - The four Aces vanish from the hands, one at a time, reappearing back in the deck.

COMMENTS - Isn't it wonderful to run into an effect that can be described so simply? Paul uses this simplicity as a vehicle for wave after wave of interactive entertainment. Some of you may have heard me talk about my 'Process-To-Effect Ratio,' where I try to appropriately match the length of the procedures with the impact of the effect. Here, Paul proves himself to be one of the very best at making the "process" as enjoyable as the mystery. I've personally seen Paul get wonderful reactions with this in a wide range of performing conditions. If you'll walk through the timing and moves with the patter, you'll see how 12 years of experience has sharpened this to a razor's edge. To say 'this works' would be a real understatement!

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