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Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 19th, 2014, 11:55 am
by Jonathan Townsend
The challenge is to fool the audience.
The effect (magical would be nice) is something about an animated stick thingie. Spellbinder framed the dancing cane as part of a routine where a handkerchief is used to transfer the animating essence between objects.

What we have at the moment is very practical and some folks find it fun to swing with a stick ... but not so deceptive to our audiences.

Without that deceptive aspect what we have is essentially a challenge to dress up a pig for a beauty contest. No prizes given for pretty pigs - it's gotta pass as a pretty person.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 19th, 2014, 11:58 am
by Jonathan Townsend
Bill Mullins wrote:
Spellbinder wrote:Give Turbo the resources of an "Appearing Broom" and David Copperfield's "Flying" apparatus and you'd have a routine that would be the envy of every magician. Notice that Turbo refrains from excessive flying of the broom and that he could probably have used mime to make the whole thing happen without the need for a line.


Actual talent and dancing skills trump the prop. See also Fred Astaire and the hat rack.


Not magic - but entertaining. Gotta drop the talent/skills out of the methods section.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 19th, 2014, 9:53 pm
by Leonard Hevia
I like the look of this prop. It appears like an old cane that could have once belonged to Max Malini. It's lightweight, 2 piece construction makes it possible to carry around in some settings without too much fuss. I would use this for something like the magnetized effects that Nate Leipzig would perform with the standard bent handle cane.

Is there a link to purchase it?

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: April 15th, 2014, 3:03 pm
by Rick Ruhl
Bill Mullins wrote:But after seeing dozens of failed attempts to make it look magical, at some point it becomes reasonable to believe that this particular prop will never again be anything other than a stick on a string.

I'd like to be proven wrong on this, but you'll have to show me, rather than keep telling me.


Christian Compton, SEAM 2004! You were there

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: August 19th, 2014, 3:50 pm
by striker
Can the dancing cane be magical ? Yes... BUT.............



ONLY if it is moved very slowly. That IS thee key period. Do NOT use it like a sling weapon. It takes pure finesse and months of work. The problem is also lighting.. Most venues don't make it practical, even magic conventions don't make lighting an option for the cane.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 9th, 2014, 10:53 pm
by marcofrezza
Hmmmm...I'm wondering if we should all just go purchase a dancing cane, play with it, practice it, create a routine based on an interesting presentation and then go perform it for a bunch of laymen for say about 52 paid shows, then come back and talk about this trick. All the theorizing and conjecture confuses me without having any real world experience.

Let the laymen guide the way.

That's what I say.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 12th, 2014, 3:24 pm
by Craig Dickens

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 12th, 2014, 5:16 pm
by Bob Farmer
The cane looks great. If the center of gravity were moved to one end and the entire dancing trick eliminated, you'd have a devastating floating cane (thread at one end). I recall there was a Finn Jon trick that used this principle.

An acquaintance once asked me if he should do the "Dancing Cane." I asked him if he could dance. He said no. I told him to do a rope trick.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 12th, 2014, 8:26 pm
by M.Lee
David wsa kid when , When he began / Playing s/ wih the D Cane ..
Thanks toi My mentor Frank Brents & Jeff Sheridanan...who w/
& propper Technique on the Canes handeling ........ Make this a Magicaal Piece of Art...ML

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 13th, 2014, 8:48 am
by mrgoat
Craig Dickens wrote:Looks pretty magical to me--
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkUNYdplejU


Looks like he is waving a stick around on a thread to me.

Each to their own though. The one redeeming aspect of that video is that the floating is actually only 40 seconds. And that is 38 seconds too much, but at least it's short.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 13th, 2014, 8:50 am
by mrgoat
marcofrezza wrote:Hmmmm...I'm wondering if we should all just go purchase a dancing cane, play with it, practice it, create a routine based on an interesting presentation and then go perform it for a bunch of laymen for say about 52 paid shows, then come back and talk about this trick.


No. No we shouldn't.

You don't need to perform something 52 times to know if it is any good or not.

Added to which, laypeople are idiots. They like McDonald's burgers, XFactor, etc.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 13th, 2014, 3:54 pm
by NCMarsh
Spellbinder wrote:It has the same basic flaw as all other dancing canes - the performer never knows when to quit. However, I am surprised that the drummer didn't have "dancing drumsticks." THAT would be original and could stand going on for an extended period of time.


Irrelevant. What's being sold is the tool, not a routine. I don't expect John Gaughan to walk on stage with a prop he has created and deliver the same experience as David Copperfield would with the same prop. But that has nothing to do with the quality of the prop. What I saw was an exceptionally made, deceptive tool for someone to work with.

As for the cane no longer being magic, if it looks like flow wand work it probably isn't...but, speaking of David, if it looks this good:




It does take restraint -- I think the early moments of this routines are models of the kinds of smaller movements that would be effective today...slinging it around you in circles not so much...but there are pretty moments to be found that feel truly magical and don't look like flow wand...but it is a few moments, not a routine (per spellbinder's note on time)...

It's also the kind of thing you need to take a careful look at yourself in the mirror before doing...the length and slimness of the wand looks right and is visually balanced with a long slender figure...those of us who are built like, and move like, construction workers ought to steer clear...but for the right performer who is restrained in his choices and masters the technique...this could be wonderful

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 13th, 2014, 4:37 pm
by Jonathan Townsend
Bob Farmer wrote:The cane looks great. If the center of gravity were moved to one end and the entire dancing trick eliminated, you'd have a devastating floating cane (thread at one end). I recall there was a Finn Jon trick that used this principle....


Silver Stick, Ken Brooke used to sell the item.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 14th, 2014, 3:31 am
by Matthew Field
Simon Drake KILLED an audience of magicians with his Dancing Cane combined with an industrial-strength strobe at the International Magic Convention in London a year ago. He regularly closes his act at the House of Magic (highly recommended, by the way, if you come to London) with the routine. It looks like some sort of animation!

Matt Field

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 14th, 2014, 12:09 pm
by Richard Kaufman
Yes, Simon does a great job with it.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 14th, 2014, 3:57 pm
by mrgoat
Just to add an alternate view, I thought mr drake's version was awful. Went on for ages and all he'd added was a wanky 80's strobe light.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 14th, 2014, 3:59 pm
by Richard Kaufman
Damian, I think we get that you don't like the Dancing Cane in any form, in any way, performed by anyone on the planet. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 14th, 2014, 6:15 pm
by Bill Mullins
You know who is just suave and debonair enough to do a good dancing cane?

Tony Sagittarius.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 14th, 2014, 6:24 pm
by MManchester
You know who is just suave and debonair enough to do a good dancing cane? Tony Sagittarius.


I'm not sure if dancing is what he'd have in mind. Maybe seduce it and make love to it, and that would be an entirely different kind of performance.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 14th, 2014, 9:18 pm
by MManchester
Coincidentally, I just saw an advertisement tonight on YouTube for the Phantom Saucer. No matter how impressive they try to make it seem, it still pales in comparison to the dancing cane. Interesting how they're trying to mass market this method to "magicians of all ages."



Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 14th, 2014, 9:50 pm
by Spellbinder
The "Phantom Saucer" is another good reason for abandoning the "Dancing Cane" to teens and other show-offs.

It reminds me of the words of Louis Nikola regarding the mirror glass: “The magician thinks that it (a Mirror Glass) looks empty — nobody else thinks so.”
Louis Nikola as quoted in Hugard's Magic Monthly (November, 1944)

To paraphrase: The magician thinks that the cane appears to be dancing around in the air by magic - nobody else thinks so.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 15th, 2014, 4:16 am
by mrgoat
Richard Kaufman wrote:Damian, I think we get that you don't like the Dancing Cane in any form, in any way, performed by anyone on the planet. Correct me if I'm wrong.


Not seen one I like. But am quite shocked you and Mr Field liked Mr Drake's version. Did you think it was fooling, or did you just appreciate he'd tried to do something different with the strobe?

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 15th, 2014, 4:29 am
by Matthew Field
The coimbination of the Dancing Cane moves with the optical effects of the strobe meke, for me an impressive visual extravaganza. Judging by the readtion of many in the audiences at the International Convention and House of Magfic, they agree.

However, the fact that something I did shocked the jaded eyes of Damian makes this all worthwhile.

Matt Field

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 15th, 2014, 7:07 am
by Timothy Hyde
Matthew Field wrote:Simon Drake KILLED an audience of magicians with his Dancing Cane combined with an industrial-strength strobe at the International Magic Convention in London a year ago.

Matt Field



I performed at a small hippy rock festival
on the south island of New Zealand ... 1978/79

Simon was on the bill too
(just before the famous Kate Bush tour)

he killed back then too

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 15th, 2014, 4:19 pm
by Brad Jeffers
Matthew Field wrote:Simon Drake KILLED an audience of magicians with his Dancing Cane



Timothy Hyde wrote: 1978/79 ... Simon killed back then too


So it has been established ... Simon Drake is a serial killer :shock:

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: September 15th, 2014, 4:26 pm
by mrgoat
[quote="Timothy Hyde"
he killed back then too[/quote]

he is awesome

totally changed the uk's view of magic and gave me my first viewings of many amazing magi. i thank him unreservedly for the secret cabaret.

just didn't think the strobe light thing was much cop is all :)

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 10th, 2015, 5:13 am
by Alexander Wells
Firstly, hello, as this is my first post on this forum...

When I first saw Simon Drake's dancing cane routine the thing that stood out for me was the repositioning of the anchor point briefly - When his hands went behind his back.

My first experience of the dancing cane was a a child, seeing the routine by David Copperfield that was posted above. I did surmise that there must be some kind of string involved, in much the same way that I surmised that stage levitations of people involved some kind of mechanical armature/cantilever.

What made it seem magical was the way that the cane moved at varying distances from his hand. The connection did not seem to be simple. The radius is not constant in the dancing cane unless it is swung at its fullest extent and speed such as in the 'over the head' move that Copperfield does at the end of the routine. That particular move does also serve to telegraph that something is being 'swung' as he lifts his hand to allow for clearance.

The link to the 'longstring wand' flow video has given me a new area to look at...there is quite a lot on youtube about the different anchor points that they are using now, albeit in a relatively open way. I do think that this does potentially have some uses for us depending on how we might apply the ideas.

To make the dancing cane deceptive, varying methods within the routine can help, limiting the length of time that one method is used, not telegraphing the method by omitting certain moves and also now, varying the length of the gimmick and the anchor point. Clearly if one were to go out on stage and do a long routine as the flow performers do, you would get caught.
I think that there is still life in the dancing cane but we have to apply the same conditions to it that we do to other effects...you would not dream of doing 12 f.transfers in a row in exactly the same way so neither should you stand there swinging a the cane around and around until it's obvious how it works.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 10th, 2015, 6:43 am
by Spellbinder
It might be useful to examine why many of us feel one way about the cane, and most do NOT feel the same way about the even older Dancing Hank.

One thing the Hank has that the Cane lacks is: personality. The Hank is treated as a mischievous little sprite that plays with the magician (and audience) in coming to life briefly for their entertainment. It has a role that goes beyond just being a prop.

If someone can figure a way to do the same with a walking stick, there might be a future for it.

I have been experimenting with a cousin of the Cane- the dancing Magic Wand. In most performances where it is used, the Cane makes one (usually long and boring) performance and then is never heard from again; whereas the magician's wand is used continually to make stuff happen for the magician and there is more opportunity for it to develop a personality. I give it the role of a mischievous stick that only wants to dance, when the magician wants it to work at its menial job as a servant of the "great one." I discuss this in more depth in my "Silent Lecture" on The Cut and Restored Ribbon/Streamer of Count Artel found in The Wizards' Journal #28 for which a wand is required, and so might as well play a role in the show as one of the "characters".

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 10th, 2015, 10:13 am
by Richard Kaufman
Unless you're in period dress on stage, it's hard to understand why you might have a cane that is black with white tips. It's archaic.

A white handkerchief is something many people still carry in their pockets.

That's why.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 10th, 2015, 10:48 am
by Jonathan Townsend
Not sure now disability magic would go - handicap parking sticker cards for manipulations - canes, walkers, maybe guide dogs... appearing segway?

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 10th, 2015, 11:29 am
by IanLand
I'm in the meh camp. Has anyone ever been fooled by a dancing cane routine? Impressed, maybe, by the technical aspects, but fooled? To be honest, the same goes for a few classic staples.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 10th, 2015, 11:58 am
by Jonathan Townsend
IanLand wrote:I'm in the meh camp. Has anyone ever been fooled by a dancing cane routine? Impressed, maybe, by the technical aspects, but fooled? To be honest, the same goes for a few classic staples.


Maybe they give irony points in magic competitions for doing obvious manipulations and utterly out of context cliche references to alien pasts. Was it was only yesterday when going out meant wearing a cane and everyone wore a top hat?

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 10th, 2015, 12:23 pm
by Bob Farmer
I've never liked the Dancing Cane because the method looks obvious and the "dancing" by the performer usually looks ridiculous. However, this is a great looking prop. Wouldn't it be better used as a floating cane?

I think it was Finn Jon who had a floating stick that was off balance. All the weight was at one end and a loop of thread was attached there. The stick could float horizontally and it looked very deceptive, no dancing required. If this prop was gimmicked that way you could do the same thing.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 10th, 2015, 12:33 pm
by P.T.Widdle
A dancing cane could be used in a routine about the 1%, along with Miser's Dream, etc.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 10th, 2015, 12:42 pm
by Jonathan Townsend
Bob Farmer wrote:...Finn Jon who had a floating stick that was off balance. All the weight was at one end and a loop of thread was attached there...


The Silver Stick. Ken Brooke sold it. It looked like metal.
It also had interesting thread - almost non-reflective grey.
Refills for the thread came wrapped around half cards IIRC.
Came in a nice box with some special tape so you can avoid the thread showing around the prop.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 10th, 2015, 1:34 pm
by Bob Farmer

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 10th, 2015, 2:32 pm
by Arcato
Not sure, if you know Xavier Mortimer, but in my opinion this is the BEST performance + motivation for a dancing cane routine I know:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lOdaYI5fnM&feature=youtu.be&t=15s
Somehow I can't embed the YouTube clip...

I've seen this live on stage a couple of times and it is still breathtaking...

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 10th, 2015, 3:11 pm
by Brad Henderson
I've seen ray anderson perform the cane dozens of times at esthers follies in Austin tx. The crowd goes nuts (in a good way) each and every time.

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 10th, 2015, 3:38 pm
by Jonathan Townsend
Brad Henderson wrote:I've seen ray anderson perform the cane dozens of times at esthers follies in Austin tx. The crowd goes nuts (in a good way) each and every time.


Does the exception prove the rule?

The guy with mime-dance skills was a fun watch - thanks Arcato

Re: Dancing Cane - a new design

Posted: February 10th, 2015, 4:20 pm
by Bob Farmer
It's only magic if the performer is motionless.