The Dani DaOrtiz Workshop – Sun 29/04/2012

What an amazing day! Having been a fan of Dani for a couple of years now you can imagine how excited I was to attend this workshop. Dani was incredible – fooling the hell out of all the magicians who attended with his loose relaxed and incredibly disarming handling. He was also really really funny and the day included many magician fooling moments and reveals which he’d been setting up since the start – incredible. I’d seen the Utopia DVDs so knew a lot of the material but a lot of the people attending had never seen his stuff before – I can only imagine how much their brain hurt on the way home afterwards.

The day started with him doing a 30 minute or so performance which warmed him up and had everyone geared up for the day. This followed with some explainations of the effects he had done. The rest of the day consisted of 2 or so hour long talks about various topics (classic force, knowing yourself and other tricks) with breaks in between. At the end of each session he tended to do something which fooled everyone – the best for me was shuffled deck held under the table by the spectator – they choose top or bottom several times and transfered cards from one place to another – eventually three cards were inserted face up in the deck by the spectator under the table. The deck was placed in the box and Dani named all three cards! It seemed incredibly fair and he gave the magician so many choices and opertunities to change his mind etc. – it was classic Dani DaOrtiz – magic that happens without him seemingly doing anything.

Another great example was a card at any number he did where the card was the 8 of diamonds and was at position 17 – after the reveal he asked to borrow a deck and the organiser took his out from under his chair. He opened them and counted down 17 cards – the 18th card was also the 8 of diamonds but was also face up! He’d set this up at some point but no one knew how or when – incredible. There was also an opertuniuty for a smaller group of us to sit with Dani during one of the breaks – he was doing some killer things with a glass and nailed me with a cards across routine – his timing is so good you just miss everything!

For me the highlight was the theory – having just re-read Ascanio’s “Structural Conception of Magic” these ideas were fresh in my mind – to see Dani explain and then to put the thoery into practice was amazing. One thing I think the Ascanio book lacks are a few more examples to explain his theories – Dani was able to fill in the gaps. Knowing yourself, naturalness, in-transit actions, timing etc. were all mentioned and applied to the effects he was doing.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough but praise must also go to the organisers of the event which was held in the Ibis Hotel near to Euston Station – they did a fantastic job, the venue was great and they’d taken the trouble to arrange the tables and chairs so that every one of the 32 or so people attending could see perfectly – the third row consisted of raised stools so you could see over the top of the two rows of chairs in front.

If you get the chance to see Dani in action then don’t miss it!!