Improvisation without Improvisation with Dani DaOrtiz
July 23rd, 2020
audience, card magic, character, closeup, emotion, performance, scripting
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Thank you to Javier Naterra for providing translation assistance this episode.
Jonah is joined by Dani DaOrtiz this week to discuss the power of muscle memory, the right way to utilize chaos, and communicating through magic. Dani is a Spanish magician known for his chaotic magic style, psychological card work, and is 1/3 of the Fat Brothers.
Dani can’t recall how he got into magic, save for receiving a magic kit as a child, but magic has always been apart of his life. His learning was self-driven starting out which, to him, was a blessing and a curse. Juan Tamariz. Ascanio. Lennart Green. These are simply some of the magicians who inspired him in the early years and still influence his style to this day. While he didn’t have the benefits that come with having direct mentors, he was able to define his own style and approach to magic based on his interpretation of the masters.
If you watch Dani perform, you might believe that his show is improvised. To a degree, you would be correct, but Dani explains that his material isn’t truly improvised. While he may not go into a performance knowing the content of the show, he is able to rely on muscle memory to explore what he’s saying at that moment. Overtime, Dani will add different aspects to his muscle memory based on the reactions of the audience. His confidence in his abilities and tools has allowed Danny the freedom to explore emotions in his show as he can become comfortable at any table.
Writing & Sharing Discoveries
Dani only writes what he discovers.
Rather than researching and learning about things like psychology, Dani is focused on uncovering and analyzing the information for himself. He wants to watch his audiences over and over again to dissect how they react to his new effects. Only once he has performed hundreds of times and polished them down, on top of understanding what it is the audience is experiencing, does Dani sit down to write out his effects or theories.
He makes it clear that he is not writing for himself but for the community; he knows that some of the ideas he uncovers are not meant for him, but other magicians who can take the concept and improve it. This is why Dani believes in the importance of writing and sharing your knowledge with the community, but, of course, only after you have worked it out and know the material is polished.
Finding Your Rhythm
Rhythm is the effects you decide to use in your show. The way you structure their place. Your relation to the audience and their attitudes. Every aspect of your show affects the rhythm, and the rhythm is what makes your show. While Dani’s show is generally unstructured, he still breaks his show down into sections and explains his process for why he selects certain tricks at specific points in his act.
What do you like about modern magic?
Even if he doesn’t enjoy everything he sees, Dan is excited when he sees different styles and conceptions of magic.
Take Home Point
We’re talking about magic! That’s the most important thing.