Magicians never reveal their secrets, but the performers stayed connected to the audience throughout, sharing stories and keeping the energy high over the hourlong show featuring sleight-of-hand tricks using cards, numbers, and words. Most participants kept their cameras on and reacted animatedly onscreen and in the chat.
The event was also the first opportunity for new SHAM members to put their newfound skills to the test. Nikita Nair ’24 performed alongside Dvorak, Kruse, Ben Meron ’23, and club faculty adviser Mark. E. Glickman, a senior lecturer and director of master’s studies in statistics.
“I love performing, and I’ve been a part of a couple of musicals already,” at Harvard, said Nair, who is from San Diego. “I didn’t really understand the level of performance needed to do magic, because you have to be able to tell a story through doing tricks, which is really challenging, and it’s amazing when it’s pulled off in the correct way.”
The group has been an important campus connection for Nair, a first-year who has not yet been to Cambridge.
“I’ve been told all these amazing things about all these wonderful opportunities on campus, but it’s really hard to believe that when I’m still in the room that I’ve been in for the last 10 years,” she said. “Activities like SHAM, where I can tell Sam and Taylor are 100 percent invested, helps me understand the beginnings of what a College experience is like, through meeting people who are really passionate and want to share that with others.”
For Dvorak and Kruse, inclusivity was one of SHAM’s foundational principles — there’s no audition process and all skill levels are welcome. They pride themselves on creating a supportive atmosphere in which people can learn and engage with the world of magic, and helping new members translate their skills into performances that get audiences excited.
“The Harvard arts community is fabulous and really strong, and I think especially in these pandemic months has pulled through in an impressive way through different virtual performances,” said Dvorak. “I think adding magic to that mix and having our events be well-attended is a testament to the Harvard arts community. It’s nice that people want, even in the middle of a pandemic, to come to a performance and be engaged and be entertained.”
Kruse and Dvorak plan to bring speakers to club meetings and host shows in the spring. They look forward to sharing their love of the craft in person once campus life resumes.
“Most people get so happy when they see magic, and they revert into this little kid state where they’re amazed and shocked,” said Kruse. “Along with the joy of that, practicing these tricks and being able to do the techniques is very satisfying. It’s wonderful to be able to bring joy to people.”
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