Sleight of hand during stage magic performances is not common, as most magic events and stunts are performed with objects visible to a much larger audience, but is nevertheless done occasionally by many stage performers. The most common magic tricks performed with sleight of hand on stage are rope manipulations and card tricks, with the first typically being done with a member of the audience to rule out the possibility of stooges and the latter primarily being done on a table while a camera is live-recording, allowing the rest of audience to see the performance on a big screen. Worldwide acclaimed stage magician David Copperfield often includes illusions featuring sleight of hand in his stage shows.
Remember that ’gravity-defying’ lean which Michael Jackson and his dancers performed in the video for the song ’Smooth Criminal’? It looks incredible, as Michael keeps his entire body straight whilst bending his ankles at an acute 45-degree angle. The secret here is in the specially-designed shoes he used, which had a heel that locked into pegs on the floor. With his feet effectively hooked to the ground, Michael was able to perform a seemingly impossible physical manoeuvre.
Make a quarter vanish into thin air. Place a quarter in the palm of your dominant hand and tell your audience that you're going to make it disappear. Make sure it's resting right in the center of your middle and ring fingers—this will allow you to secretly cup the edges using your index and pinky fingers. Quickly pass your dominant hand over your opposite hand as though you've transferred the quarter, then let your dominant hand, which is still palming the coin, fall to your side. Open your empty hand and savor the look on your audience's faces as they try to figure out where the quarter went!
Sleight of hand is often used in close-up magic, where the sleights are performed with the audience close to the magician, usually in physical contact or within 3 to 4 m (10 to 13 ft). This close contact eliminates theories of fake audience members and the use of gimmicks. It makes use of everyday items as props, such as cards, coins, rubber bands, paper, phones and even saltshakers. A well-performed sleight looks like an ordinary, natural and completely innocent gesture, change in hand position or body posture. In addition to manual dexterity, sleight of hand in close-up magic depends on the use of psychology, timing, misdirection, and natural choreography in accomplishing a magical effect.
This is probably the simplest trick in the list. All you have to do is fill the bag ¾ way and drive the pencil into the bag. You will notice that the water won’t spill and the explanation is scientific. Plastic bags like Ziploc bags are polymers which have long bonds and chains. When the pencil enters the polymer, its molecules form a shield around the pencil trapping the water molecules. But this is your secret. No one in the audience has to know about it.
The magic here is when the magician, who is tightly grasping the coin, mysteriously makes it go through the table, just by banging it hard on the table surface. He then grabs the coin on the other side with his other hand before it falls down on the floor. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it’s easy, after countless hours of practice and mastery. Here’s how to master this trick. You will have to really practice your hand speed because the whole trick rests on how fast your hands move the coin from the table. It’s a split-second affair. There are no holes punched on the table, and you don’t need long sleeves where you can hide the coin. It’s just a matter of how fast one hand gets the coin to the other. Like with most tricks, you will have to find a distraction for your audience. A good distraction that will shift their attention, enabling you to slide the coin from the table. Another important aspect of this trick is the performance. You will have to act like you are holding the coin, and banging it on the table. Here’s how it works. Ask an audience member to verify if the coin is real. Once the audience member gives the coin back, pretend like you want to get a good hold of the coin so as to begin the magic.
Rock up smoothly onto the ball of the foot furthest away from the audience. Transition your weight onto the ball of your support foot fluidly while allowing the foot the audience can see to hover 1–2 inches (2.5–5.1 cm) above the ground. Try to support yourself as far forward towards your toes as you can. If you do this just right, it will appear as though you've succeeded in levitating for a brief moment.
In addition to manual dexterity, sleight of hand relies upon misdirection, psychological manipulation, timing, story, and natural choreography. An example from coin magic is the French drop, where the magician appears to transfer a coin from the right hand to the left hand but actually keeps the coin palmed in the original hand. By motivating the sleight, timing the drop to a moment when the left hand obscures the sleight, and selling misdirection by focusing on the left hand, the magician completely fools the audience.
Now I wiggle the card to my shoe (No. 3: If you’re laughing …). When I lift whichever foot has your card, or invite you to take my wallet from my back pocket, I turn away (No. 4: Outside the frame) and swap the deck for a normal one from which I’ve removed all three possible selections (No. 5: Combine two tricks). Then I set the deck down to tempt you to examine it later and notice your card is missing (No. 6: The lie you tell yourself).
Although it may seem like Hogwarts magic, the performance is quite easy. There’s a special v-shaped tunnel going under the wall. That is why the spectators who study the wall and how solid it is, don't find anything – the wall is ok, the floor is not. The magician needs just a fraction of a second to go through the small tunnel going under the wall and stand on the other side of it.
A glass of water is placed on the table which is covered with a handkerchief. Then, the magician lifts it up and throws it into the air. The result: the handkerchief falls on the floor, and the glass disappears. The trick here is two-fold: firstly, there’s a wire ring sewn into the handkerchief, which creates the illusion that the glass is underneath the handkerchief. Secondly, the glass is then lowered into a secret pouch through a hole in the table.
Here is how to get it done. Get to your designated corner in the house, and make sure the audience is in the right location. It’s pretty easy. Lift your right leg and make sure it does not go up bent. Ensure it is always straight as it goes up. Also, let your hands not hold onto anything when performing the trick. You will find yourself levitating. How? You ask. Well, remember your left leg? Your left leg will perform a critical function to aid the trick. Lift your left leg with your toes, almost like a Ballerina dancer but not up to your tip toe. (But if you can, the better.) Make sure your right leg always conceals your left leg which is not levitating, and make sure it is always straight. It will really look like both of your legs are levitating. You should also ensure that your feet are together always.Also, as your left foot moves up slowly push your right foot downwards so as to further conceal your left foot.Balance is key here, so make sure you practice a lot before attempting this trick.
The art of card throwing generally consists of throwing standard playing cards with excessively high speed and accuracy, powerful enough to slice fruits like carrots and even melons. Like flourishing, throwing cards are meant to be visibly impressive and does not include magic elements. Magician Ricky Jay popularized throwing cards within the sleight of hand industry with the release of his 1977 book entitled Cards as Weapons, which was met with large sales and critical acclaim. Some magic tricks, both close-up and on stage, are heavily connected to throwing cards.
The feather that Darcy showed us before lightning it up is actually a piece of special paper known as flash paper. It is commonly used by magicians when they wish to create quick large flashes of fire in order to hide brisk moments of illusion from the audience. That's exactly what Darcy did - using the fire, he quickly got the pigeon from a secret pocket in his sleeve.
Pick up the coin with your decoy hand and fake a pass to your other hand. This is where the illusion comes in. While you're apologizing to the audience, snatch up the coin with the hand of the arm you were just rubbing and make a quick motion indicating that you're passing it back to your rubbing hand, only don't actually pass it. Instead, cup it in your palm and place your elbow back on the table.