Slydini's "Quarter to the Left/Quarter to the Right" System by Bill Wisch
Originally Published: April 2000
When you are performing on a stage or platform, one of the biggest concerns is looking good and at the same time feeling comfortable. One thing beginning performers don't spend much time with is using their legs and feet effectively. There's nothing more uncomfortable than realizing too late, while actually doing your act, that you really haven't spent much time and thought on how to stand and move. This is a sobering experience. I know 'cause I've been there!
Slydini had his own little formula for looking good and feeling comfortable while during a stand-up, manipulation routine. This system has helped me a great deal.
Stand straight and natural, with both feet about six inches apart. This is your basic, straight-ahead position. You can move your head, hands and arms easily, as well as being able to turn left or right slightly, without moving your feet at all
In this position you should stay straight without shifting any weight from leg to leg. Quarter to the Left
Now, put your weight on your right leg and shift you left foot so it points at about a 45 degree angle to the left (around 10:30 on a clock dial). While keeping your weight on the right leg and maintaining the feet in this position you'll see that it's easy to be working for the audience on your left. You feel comfortable and not awkward or "out of position". Even more important is that the audience on your right will not lose sight of whatever your demonstrating. There are a number of performers who literally turn their back on half the audience while doing manipulations. This method eliminates that negative situation entirely.
Quarter to the Right
The same as above but reverse.
Shifting You will find that any manipulative routine can be used with this system. Practice standing front, then shifting quarter to the left, then back to front, then quarter to the right, and so on. It almost dictates itself as you need to manipulate your angles. Do this for a while and the weight-shifting will become automatic. You'll never have the problem of knowing how to stand or look comfortable and natural on stage, ever again. In Conclusion
Slydini, as you know, always came up with his own method for everything he needed. He left no stone unturned. Without the mention of this simple system, and due to the fact that there is very little on film or tape of Slydini's work, I sincerely doubt this technique would ever have been noticed. When he worked on it with me in a lesson, I remember thinking it would be difficult to get used to. But after only a few minutes of practice and working it with a few of the routines I already did, I found that it was truly worth its weight in gold. It gives a great foundation to your stage and platform performance.
You may have noticed that it has been some time since I published a “Slydini Legacy”. I wanted to explain to my audience why. Eric Dany and the SME Talk Magic forum on Facebook, accused me of “advertising” on their forum by putting out these articles to the community on their FB group.
While these articles were written some time ago, each article is gone through again by myself and by my son, Kevin before they are published. I am also not paid in any way for these articles: I have chosen to give this information out to the magic community completely free of charge. Mr. Dany’s lack of respect for my putting out these articles for free caused me to take a step back. The thought that I put these articles out soley for personal gain and that I should pay him a “small reasonable fee of $75” (PER MONTH) to post these articles on his SME talk magic forum is, quite frankly, absurd. I was hurt by Eric’s lack of respect for my knowledge and insight that I am uniquely qualified to give to the community about Slydini and by his own attitude of “putting the dollar first” rather than offering up to the community articles that I have chosen to share free of charge.
With that said, I have chosen to continue to release these articles for no charge and am thankful for the magic community and everyone in it. The magic community is full of amazing people and I am blessed to be a small, albeit, historically very important part of it.
I look forward to releasing more articles, both previously published, and newly written, in the coming months.