Ukraine’s ‘David Cop­per­field’ talks about world of il­lu­sion

Kyiv Post - - Lifestyle - BY NATALIYA TRACH [email protected]

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)

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