Dumbledore Takes a Bow


What’s shown in the video above is, essentially, Dumbledore giving a farewell performance for his students at Hogwarts.

Okay, let’s back up a bit.

There really is a Hogwarts. Only it’s called Tannen’s Magic Camp, and it runs every summer teaching a select number of talented young would-be magicians their art and craft. Many, many of the country’s best professional magicians have passed through this camp both as teachers and students including David Blaine, Michael Carbonaro, Steve Cohen, and actor Adrien Brody.

Magician David Oliver, featured in the video above, had been a key figure in mentoring youngsters at the camp over many years. There’s a lovely documentary about the camp where you can see David gently but firmly insisting to his teen students on the necessity of high artistic standards. About seven years ago, however, Oliver received devastating news: he had developed an awful lung disease called hypersensitivity pneumonitis caused by working and living with the doves in his act.  In 2013, he had to undergo a lengthy operation, which resulted in a double lung transplant.

So now you have the context for the video. In it, David is performing for his students a little while after the double lung transplant. The cheering you hear is that of students for their beloved teacher. David is performing a classic of magic, the Zombie, the crude mechanics of which every student in the audience is fully aware. But how David works with that ball is like watching Fred Astaire dance with Ginger Rogers: the grace, the fluidity, the precision, he makes it all seem so effortless and beautiful.  I saw him perform this piece in Brooklyn years ago, and it was totally enchanting.

The students are cheering a great teacher, friend, artist, magician, and man of determined courage.