Magicians are fond of referring to Robert-Houdin’s maxim that a magician is really an actor playing the part of the magician. When it comes to sleight-of-hand however, while acting is important, flow is more important.
Sleight-of-hand is simply more deceptive when there is flow. When something has flow the eye just glazes over it, and that is something that every practitioner should welcome, and pursue.
Some create flow by applying Ascanian notions of “in-transit” and “final actions”. For me however, they are separate and distinct.
My definition of flow focuses on the card cheat’s perennial quest – how do you get “into it”, and how do you get “out of it”. That is, how do you manage the transition between each move, technique, or sequence – particularly, the beginning and the ending of each component. A large part of that is determined by how you place your hands at rest, before commencing to execute a move; and, how you return your hands to rest, after performing that move. Pauses, of course, speak volumes.
One of the reasons we have inserted so many photographs – over 750 – in The Experts At The Card Table is to document just that: how do you get “into it”, how do you get “out of it”, and how you “rest”. It’s all about flow.
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