Now you see it, now you don’t: Student pursues passion for magic

Now you see it, now you dont: Student pursues passion for magic

Myiah Jones, Staff Writer

That is definitely witchcraft. That’s not possible. How did you do that? Wait, what was that?
A crowd of students watches as coins disappear and then reappear from empty hands. At the center of attention, senior Danny Cheng amazes onlookers as he displays a few magic tricks.

     Cheng discovered his passion for magic thanks to his middle school teacher in Taiwan who first performed a coin-disappearing trick to Cheng. After being introduced into the world of magic Cheng began practicing daily.

      “I would read books or look up videos and see how a master just did it,” Cheng said. “Then I try to come up with an original way to do what they did. It’s about creating an illusion in your own way.”

     His interest in magic grew and a few of his friends noticed and asked him if he would be interested in joining a magic club at the school. As a part of the club, 15-year-old Cheng got the opportunity to display a few of his newly learned magic tricks at a talent show hosted by of a few schools around the area. It was his first time to perform.

     “Being in front of all those people was so nerve-wracking,” Cheng said. “You have to be quiet on stage, and you can’t explain to the audience what you’re doing.”

     After Cheng found this hobby for himself, he eventually learned he would have to not only leave the club but also his homeland of Taiwan. His mother believed there was more opportunity in the U.S for him and his family; therefore, the summer of last year Cheng moved to Texas. However, no longer being a part of the club did not stop Cheng from continuing his passion of developing his skills in magic.

     “I was sad when I left but I got some time to think and work on my own,” Cheng said. “I tried to read some books and practice by myself.”

     Then, Cheng got the opportunity to perform again at an Asian community group, but he wasn’t as nervous there. Even though Cheng enjoys being on stage, his concentration is what he calls close-up magic. Close-up magic or micromagic is performed in an intimate setting with a small audience.

    “I can talk to people, and I can use my body language up close,” Cheng said. “I really like showing people magic tricks because they are always like ‘whoa’ and I love seeing that.”

     Due to his deep interest in magic, Cheng has decided he wants to pursue a career as a street magician. A street magician performs a single trick or two in a public space with a “hit-and-run” style that leaves the audience feeling that the performance is impromptu.

     Cheng believes it takes practice to successfully carry out an illusion. If a mistake is made, the street magician may have difficulty keeping the attention of the audience. Not only did Cheng learn magic tricks from his teacher in Taiwan but also life lessons.

     “I remember my teacher told me, ‘If you mess up, you just mess up but you learn something from it so next time you won’t,’” Cheng said.

     Despite Cheng’s personal motivation to become a street magician, he has not gained the approval of his parents. Both his mother and father believe that performing magic is fine as a hobby to enjoy, but that it should not be a career for him. Against his parents’ wishes, Cheng still continues on in hopes of being a street performer.

     “This is my life and I just want to do what I love,” Cheng said.