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Magic bridges East and West

Magicians' special skills heighten understanding, appreciation across cultures, Oasis Hu reports in Los Angeles.

By Oasis Hu in Los Angeles | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-03-18 10:31
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Li Dongjin showcases his mastery by conjuring smoke from his hand at the Magic Castle's Asia Magic Week event. [Photo provided by Li Dongjin]

Standing center stage, Chinese magician Li Dongjin ingests a dozen sharp needles along with a lengthy thread, then swallows a playing card chosen at random by a volunteer from the audience.

After a moment of silent concentration, he pulls a thread from his mouth, on which all the needles are dangling, along with the selfsame playing card.

Shrieks of amazement accompany a standing ovation and cries of "Amazing!"

The needle-swallowing trick is a classical technique in Eastern acrobatics that has a long history. For two years, Li has updated this classic, combining it with a card trick from modern Western magic, showing the best of East-meets-West to patrons of the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California, the United States.

Located in the heart of the nation's movie-making capital, the Magic Castle is one of the most prestigious magic venues in the world and to be invited to perform there is an honor comparable to a musician being invited to Carnegie Hall in New York.

From Jan 15 to 21, the Magic Castle hosted Asia Magic Week, bringing together 14 top magicians from China, Japan, and South Korea, to showcase the magic of the Orient to an international audience.

In an exclusive interview with China Daily, Dale Salwak, the producer of Magic Castle's Asia Magic Week, said Asia harbors a wealth of untapped talent and is part of the castle's mission to showcase those skills and gain global recognition.

Salwak said he invited each performer after considering their unique styles, ensuring the event embraced inclusivity and diversity.

The East-meets-West event aimed to bring together different cultures, creating an experience that transcends borders, Salwak said.

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