Belgian magician’s paper dance casts a spell

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Belgian illusionist and 2022 world magic champion Laurent Piron poses in Soumagne near Liège on August 22, 2022. – AFP pic

Sunday August 28, 2022 07:18 MYT

SOUMAGNE, August 28 — A crumpled ball of paper springing to life and leading the seemingly puzzled magician into a playful dance — it’s a simple yet poetic and engaging scene.

Belgian magician Laurent Piron’s twirling ‘paper ball’ isn’t a spectacular sight, but last month it earned the former street performer the title of ‘World Champion of Magic’.

Now this champion has returned from the Quebec contest to his home near Liege in eastern Belgium, ready to pull a world bookings list up his sleeve.

The World Championship of Magic takes place once every three years, but Piron had already spent several years refining Paper Ball to recapture the storytelling skills of an earlier era.

“A lot of older magicians came to me after my performance to tell me that they had been taken back to their childhood and had forgotten the techniques,” Piron told AFP.

“That’s what we wanted to do with this ball of paper. We don’t care about trickery – the goal is to create a magical emotion.

It’s a different approach than a magic showman like David Copperfield, the American best known for crossing the Great Wall of China and making the Statue of Liberty disappear.

But the legendary magician was also touched by Piron’s smaller-scale illusion, and when the Belgian returned home there was a voicemail from Copperfield congratulating him.

“He loved it. Even though he puts on great shows, he’s a real magic lover. He’s still the undisputed master – he knows all the tricks,” the 35-year-old said.

“But we tricked him with this act.”

The son of a sound engineer, Piron grew up as an amateur handyman and started doing magic tricks at 18, learning the basic techniques from a friend.

stage magic

At 22, he left for Vancouver, Canada, and met street magicians.

“The street gave me professional knowledge and a relationship with the public. If the public doesn’t like you, they move on,” he said.

“You have to have enough energy, slogans, jokes and attract attention. The street taught me how to develop my character to attract the crowd.

After several years of “following the sun” across Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe, the magician returns to Belgium in search of a place on stage.

“I’ve always loved theatrical magic, a narrative that brings in visuals – not just glitter boxes or a rabbit out of a hat – and then I discovered ‘New Magic’,” he said. declared.

The practitioners of the movement mix illusions and narrative arts, and seek to escape the “power struggle” between the artist and an audience always trying to guess the tricks.

Piron received formal training with the CNAC circus schools in France and is today one of the main members of the Alogique theater company.

He hopes the new style will stop magic from being the poor cousin of the performing arts and encourage his peers to study lighting, visual effects and storytelling.

And, thanks to his prize, he drew invitations to perform in Japan, Great Britain and Las Vegas.

For his next tour, he would like to book Broadway. —AFP

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