English 31


In 2008, China hosted one of the most spectacular Olympic Games in recent memory. Soon after, however; the1 country’s capital of Beijing played host to another dazzling competition: the World Championships of Magic. The weeklong event is also known as the “Olympics of Magic.” Every three years, magicians from around the world unveil2 their best tricks to compete at3 a gold medal in their area of the ancient art of illusion.

Canadian Shawn Farquhar won the gold medal for close-up magic, generally performed4 for an audience that is no more than 10 feet away. Farquhar showed the audience an ace of spades and that he had nothing up his sleeves.5 The next moment, the card was clearly an ace of clubs! A Hungarian magician named Soma captured the gold medal for stage magic, which sometimes involves audience participation.Soma, moreover,7 used everyday objects in his stage act. He ripped up a newspaper into tiny pieces, but much to his surprise, the newspaper kept putting himself8 back together.

(1)Farquhar and Soma may have gone home with the medals, but the country of China is perhaps the biggest winner. (2)In fact, the magic craze is putting China in touch with its roots. (3)Lu Chen, a popular magician from Taiwan, helped spark the craze on a TV show this past spring. (4)China has a long history of magic that teachers are taking advantage of. The region of Baofeng – considered the home of Chinese magic is home9 to records of magic acts that date back more than 1,400 years. Modern students can study those records and learn ancient tricks that were previously unknown to them.10 [11]

Magic fever is also helping local businesses cope with tough economic times. Learning12 the secrets behind magic tricks, people are flooding magic training schools. Many magicians have started their own schools where the tricks of their trade are taught by them13 to curious beginners. In addition, stores that make stage costumes and tents for magic show have seen a big jump in sales. [14]

Magician Wang Xianbo was born in Zhouying. His hometown, which is known15 as “Magic Village” because many residents of the village have turned to magic-related businesses. Xianbo explains the craze, saying “Magic is new and fashionable to a lot of young people. Dancing and pop music are no longer fresh, but magic makes people’s eyes pop out.”