Ukraine’s ‘David Copperfield’ talks about world of illusion
Roman Bondarchuk, a 30-year-old Kyivan, can mesmerize.
It’s not only because of his graceful movements and impeccable manners, but because of his skills as an illusionist. His performances and captivating tricks have made him Ukraine’s most famous magician.
“To be a successful illusionist, you have to be artistic and always ready to learn something new,” Bondarchuk says.
He has been performing illusions for 20 years now. At the age of 11, he saw a performance by David Copperfield, one of the most famous magicians in the world. “Copperfield was performing flying and metamorphosis tricks. I was so deeply impressed by his performance that I decided to become an illusionist,” Bondarchuk recalls.
But his parents wanted him to study for a more traditional profession. So Bondarchuk enrolled in the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute for an engineering course. His studies there lasted a year, before he gave them up to pursue his passion. He entered the Kyiv Circus Academy, graduating in 2008 with a master’s degree in “Illusion and Manipulation.”
“My parents began to support my professional choice only when I started winning some illusionists’ competitions and began making my first money by showing tricks,” he recalls.
Success at home has brought Bondarchuk international recognition as well in the Czech Republic and Hungary.
He now conducts workshops on illusions, which enable beginners to master the simplest tricks.
In recent years, Bondarchuk has been working as a TV presenter dedicated to illusionism and tricks. “There’s a lot of rivalry among illusionists. You can’t relax, and have to constantly improve your skills, look for new ideas, show new trick and invent more complicated illusions than your colleagues,” he says.
Bondarchuk knows how to perform several thousand tricks, while his current repertoire includes nearly 1,000 tricks. His favorite tricks include pretending to be guessing someone’s thoughts as well as big illusions -- when people and objects “appear” and “disappear.”
Bondarchuk performs internationally frequently enough to pick up on moods. “Europeans are restrained and calm. Americans are very open and emotional, while Oriental people might be very restrained, but when they like the tricks they might be very generous,” he says. By contrast, Ukrainian VIPs frequently sit with poker faces during his performances.
It takes up to a year to create a new illusion – to buy props, choose music, stage it and rehearse. It’s not cheap. “For big illusions like making a 15-ton tractor disappear in a stadium, the cost is really impressive.”
Bondarchuk won’t disclose the secrets of a profession in which he’s grown confident about his abilities, compared to his start 11 years ago. “During my first performance at a New Year’s party I was scared that the audience would work out my tricks, or that my tricks would fail. But everything went well,” he says.
Illusionists are often invited to corporate and private parties. Bondarchuk’s performances start at $500.
Bondarchuk discusses his illusions with his wife, whom he calls his muse and adviser. “She constantly inspires me,” he says.
Besides Copperfield, he admires Derren Brown and Uri Geller.
To improve his skills, Bondarchuk takes master classes abroad and goes to shows of other illusionists as a simple spectator.
His “Stand Up Magic Show” is on Feb. 18 in Freedom concert hall. Tickets are Hr 500 – 150. To attend Bondarchuk’s classes, go http://romanbondarchuk.com. The price for an individual workshop is Hr 1,600.
Illusionist Roman Bondarchuk of Kyiv performs one of his magic tricks. (Courtesy)