How To Learn Magic Tricks Like Dynamo

So, You Want To Learn Magic Tricks Like Dynamo?

Dynamo on stage Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Steven Frayne, who most of you will know as Dynamo, is the most famous magician in the UK. He's our David Blaine. Born in 1982, in Bradford, UK. From card tricks to illusions, from intimate venues to stadiums and a multitude of TV shows, there's not much he hasn't done. He's a member of The Magic Circle and won Magician of the Year award from The Magic Castle in Los Angeles. If you’re under the age of 30 and into magic, it’s almost certainly Dynamo that inspired you to being your journey.

How To Learn Magic Tricks

What's the best way to start learning magic? An interesting thing to think about here, is consider why you want to learn-magic-tricks like Dynamo? Is it that you want to be a professional magician, or you want to be like him? Or you want to know the secrets to how Dynamo does what he does? The issue you’ll face is no one really wants to see a Dynamo wannabe. They want to see something original. And you’re unlikely to be as popular as Dynamo.

The best advice we can give you is to find out your own performing persona. Learning the secrets to how he walks down the Shard or walking on water on river Thames isn’t going to make you a magician. Years of work is what will make you a magician. Don’t aim to be a copycat, aim to be original.

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How Dynamo Got Started in Magic

In 2003, Stephen Frayne was given a loan which allowed him to buy camera kit and start a business. He was clever and with a small team went out to film essentially a sizzle reel of him performing street magic in London.

He also sneaked backstage at big name events by showing the bouncers some card tricks and they let him in to the after show. He was filmed doing magic on famous hip hop and film stars and rebased this video to the world on YouTube. Performing for these celebrities validated his magic skills, and he was picked up to do his award-winning TV series Dynamo: Magician Impossible which ran for 3 years.

The Real Secrets of Dynamo’s Magic

You’re not going to like this, but here it is. The real secret to Dynamo’s magic is years of practise and a team of people helping him create his magic. We’re not going to expose his illusions here, but we can steer you to places you can begin to learn card magic and close up magic like he performs in his hugely popular television shows. We can also explain, in real terms, what he did.

  1. He worked hard.
    He wasn’t an overnight success. He grinded it out. Doing magic anywhere and everywhere he could to build up what magicians call “his chops”. This means the technical skills needed to perform sleight of hand magic. How can you learn from this? Well, as Nike say, Just Do It! Get out there and perform for anyone and everyone you can. You will make mistakes. You will learn from those mistakes. But those mistakes are what help you grow as a performer.

  2. He was seen.
    Dynamo performed. A lot. He wasn’t paid to perform backstage at all those hip hop events, he kinda forced his way in, but by doing so, he got in front of people like Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill. These people could help him up the ladder to where he is today. His manager, Dan Albion, wouldn’t have seen him unless he was out there all the time doing magic. So get out there. Do charity gigs, do gigs for free. Just be seen!

  3. He was humble.
    Everyone says what a “nice guy” Dynamo is. And, being likeable is super important if you’re going to succeed in anything in life, especially magic. If they like you, you’re 80% of the way there. So rather than worry about your clothes, or hair, or indeed your patter, try worrying about what you can do to be liked.

  4. He got an agent/manager.
    Early on, Dynamo was signed up by a manager. This really helped take him to the next level. Dan Albion’s contacts bypassed a lot of the door knocking Dynamo would have had to do on his own. Sure, you’re going to pay for this help, but in the long run it pays off. So get your showreel out to as many artist management companies as you can and hopefully you’ll be as lucky one day.

  5. He developed a brand.
    He’s the street kid from Bradford that likes hip hop and urban music. This resonated with what marketers refer to as his target audience. These young people didn’t want to see Paul Daniels, or someone in a bow tie. That didn’t and would never resonate with them. They wanted to see amazing magic done by someone like them. Now, this doesn’t mean you should put on a backwards baseball cap and say “yo” a lot. It means you should find out what your “brand” can be. What do you want to really end up doing and who will pay you to do it? What will make them tick?

Close Up Magic

Dynamo certainly started out doing close up magic with cards. He’d do a Multiple Selection routine at every magic convention, just in the foyer, before he was famous. He’s performed French Kiss, Pegasus Page and many, many more.

A card flourish Photo Credit: Bustle

Don't Fear The Gimmicks

Dynamo’s television magic is exactly that, magic for television. But many of the effects he’s performed on TV also look great in real life. He performs a lot of very visual magic with little or no patter or presentation. He lets the tricks speak for themselves. And it’s worked for him.

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Cardistry

Dynamo loves a bit of Cardistry. For the uninitiated, Cardistry is the art of card flourishing. By design, it appears very hard to do, and very visually pleasing to the eye. It’s juggling with playing cards. The word itself is an amalgamation of card and artistry. Essentially it’s linking together fancy cuts, shuffles, fans and displays.

It all started in 1992 when David Copperfield’s right hand man Chris Kenner published a flourish called “The Five Faces of Sybil”. Now known simply as the Sybil Cut. Dynamo enjoys displaying his skills with moves like this and his own “Dynamo Shuffle”. Brian Tudor’s VHS release “Show Off” in 1997 was nothing but flourishes and many variations of the Sybil cut. Skip forward a few tears, and in 2001, Dan and Dave Buck released Pasteboard Animations and the whole Cardistry movement erupted.