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Meet the Director - Magic Specialty

Meet the Director - Magic Specialty

Last summer a very entertaining character visited Pali. His purpose was simple – run an afternoon Magic elective as a test run for a possible specialty in the future. The campers loved it and had a great time. In fact, he left them begging for more - so we decided to make Magic an official specialty program and invited that charismatic entertainer back to run it. We gave him a camp name and are excited to be able to introduce you to...ZOLTAR! The magical and mysterious Zoltar was happy to answer a few of our questions about his background and his plans for the Magic program.

What is your background in magic?

I’ve known I was meant to be a magician and entertainer since I was a kid. When I was five years old, my mom asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My response was: a clown, a stuntman, and a cop! I’d like to think a magician mixes skills from all three of those professions (making people laugh, doing tricks, and crowd control), so I think I did okay! In addition to teaching and performing magic all around Los Angeles, I was also a clown with the Ringling Brothers Circus for 2 years.

What is your favorite magic trick?

Spongeballs! These little, squishy, round sponges are a great starting point for sleight of hand. They are easy to bring with you anywhere you go, and our Magic campers will definitely be learning how to use them!

How will the program work, day to day?

The kids will each receive a starter Magic Kit with 150 tricks in it. My goal is to teach them several tricks a day from the kit, and equip them with the knowledge to tackle the rest of the kit once they’re home. My plan is to tackle at least 3 illusions a day. Beyond the technical tricks, we’ll also be working on performance skills. We’ll develop what I like to call “patter”, which is the dialogue you create with your audience while performing, and perfect how to tell a story to compliment your magic.

What do you think this specialty has to offer aspiring magicians?

One great thing about the Magic specialty is that it meets a need in the industry – the lack of one-on-one mentors. Many brick-and-mortar Magic Shops have closed down or moved online, and as a result young magicians have been forced to learn tricks from YouTube or other how-to videos. They don’t have easy access to personalized instruction and that crucial element of feedback on their performances. The Magic specialty camp will be able to provide exactly that, and the weeklong program will allow everyone to build on his or her skills each day. I plan to tailor each week to the unique campers that are in the program, working individually with both older and younger campers to meet them at their skill level. We will be learning as a group, and teamwork will be a huge part of the process as the campers help each other master each skill.

What are your goals for the campers in the specialty?

I want the campers to be able to go home to their friends and family and be able to do basic magic tricks with everyday items - ordinary household objects. I’m basically helping them lay a foundation for performing impromptu magic. This means wherever they are, whether they have a “bag of tricks” with them or not, they’ll be able to entertain and amaze!

An equally important goal is for the campers to go away with a huge boost in their self-confidence. Overcoming shyness is a big part of performing magic, and we will be working on that throughout the week. The magic specialty will create a very low-pressure, encouraging environment for campers to try new tricks out without fear. We will all be learning together, and as the group learns, individuals will also be building confidence.

What are you most excited about?

Summer camp is a brand new experience for me. While I’ve taught magic in after-school programs, privately and all around LA, I’ve never done it at summer camp! I know it’s going to be a lot of fun. I can’t wait to get started!

See you soon,