In the world of magic there are a few big names: Chris Angel, David Copperfield, Penn and Teller. Elmira’s Kent Thuroo and Allie Stortz hope one day to add their names to that list. The brother-and-sister team have been performing tricks as a team under the name Kamagic for the last few months and were last seen entertaining the crowds at this year’s Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, with Kent providing sleight-of-hand tricks and Allie balloon art.
“It was a nice way for us to hang out as I was away at college for a while and we drifted apart; now we are getting closer through magic,” said Allie.
The siblings work well as a team interacting with each other as they perform for their audience. They find being related helps, as they can bicker with one another, which adds to the show. Allie acts as an assistant to Kent for a few of the magic feats, including the hippity-hop rabbit trick in which he uses cardboard rabbit cutouts that switch from one box to another.
“In the skit, I like one rabbit and she likes the other rabbit and we joke around like that – it gets the audience really excited,” said Kent.”“I bring in more the children and he brings in the adults to our shows,” said Allie.
The magic started for Kent just before Christmas last year when EDSS drama teacher DJ Carroll held a magic class.
“I always had an interest in magic but never really thought much of it until the class had to perform magic. At first I thought it was a bit silly, but then over Christmas break I received a magic trick and I loved it.”
Kent enjoys performing street magic where he can use his prestidigitation tricks and up-close magic, but he is expanding his skills and is in the process of learning a few new tricks involving metal rings.
“It takes a lot of practice. I pretty much practice every day all the time, even when I should be paying attention in class I am usually practicing magic or trying to figure something out,” he said. “I started off doing card tricks and ventured on to children’s magic and I have plans to develop some of my own stage illusions.”
During shows, Allie acts the part of magician’s assistant and afterwards when Kent is packing up she makes balloon art for the children.
“I am still a beginner and I learn more and more everyday about how to build balloon art, but it is a lot of fun. It just seems that it is something that goes along with magic and works out at birthday parties as kids like the magic but they get to keep a balloon animal or something,” said Allie.
The duo has made an attempt to be quite professional, designing and making business cards and placing an ad on Kijiji about their talents and availability for shows. So far this year the duo has worked at the festival and four parties, with a few more planned for the spring and summer.
“We have had some people respond to the ads and have begun to book a few dates,” said Allie.
The secret of a good magician is to use their banter with the audience to misdirect them, and Kent admits that made him nervous at first but it is something he has had to overcome over the last few months.
“I still get nervous when I am in front of a large crowd, but once I get going and start interacting with them it becomes quite easy to perform.”
Kent just came back from a trip to Las Vegas with his dad, Bill, where he got to see performances by some of the big names like Copperfield and Angel, as well as Nathan Burton and Mac King. He was also called up on stage to help his favorite act, Penn and Teller, carry out an illusion.
“It was great meeting them and being a part of the show. I just love the way Penn can hold an audience with the way he speaks,” he said adding he hoped to be able to perform at that level one day.
Magic is all about figuring out the trick and that only comes with practice, said Kent.
“I have had some help from the guys at a magic store in Kitchener, but for the most part I just try to figure out everything for myself. It is all just trial and error.”
The siblings say their family fully supports their new venture and it has really brought them closer as they use them to practice on.
“After a few hundred tricks the family can get a bit tired of it all, but they have totally supported us through this whole thing,” said Allie.
Magic has also been a diversion from Kent’s online video gaming, where he would play World of War Craft for hours on end.
“It is much more fun doing magic than sitting in front of the computer playing games.”
Kent and Allie are preparing to audition for Canada’s Got Talent next year with a new act, but he will not give away any of the details, saying he does not let anyone know how he performs his tricks as he doesn’t want to get in trouble from other magicians.
“It’s all part of the magician’s code, you never reveal your secrets.”