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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Illusionist uses tricks to heal, delight

Intent on using his talents for more than pulling rabbits out of hats, illusionist Kevin Spencer is bringing his contemporary magic show and his magic-trick-based physical therapy to Bryan-College Station
Spencer will be in the community until Thursday, working with teachers in Bryan and College Station ISDs as part of the Healing of Magic and Hocus Focus programs.
Healing of Magic is a program that uses simple magic tricks as a form of rehabilitation therapy, Spencer said.
“Say you’ve been in a car accident and you’re in occupational therapy and you’re relearning how to use your hands,” Spencer said. “There are a lot of traditional forms of therapy that you can use, like putting pegs in a board and those sorts of things, but they’re not
very motivating.”
Spencer said he designed the program after being in a car accident early in his career that caused a brain and spinal cord injury, putting him in therapy for a year.
“It’s frustrating and it’s boring and it’s hard to get motivated to do the therapy you need to do,” Spencer said. “So I decided there’s got to be a better way to do this and who doesn’t get excited about a magic trick?”
The Hocus Focus program follows the same concept, but is education-based and student-centered, giving students with learning disabilities the chance to practice fine motor skills.
“For the smaller tricks, which are what we teach, the movements required to do those simple little tricks
require things like opening and closing the hand, grasp and release, all these very intricate movements,” Spencer said. “In order to perform a magic trick, you have to be able to have fine motor skills, but beyond that you have to be able to plan and sequence the movements required.”
Spencer said while he loves being a performer, making a positive impact in the community is the most rewarding part of what he does.
“When you can give somebody the ability to do something that the normal, able-bodied person can’t do, and when that person has a low self-esteem or self-worth, that is such a tremendous boost to their self-esteem, and it really does motivate them in so many other areas of their life,” Spencer said.
Spencer’s show, Theatre of Illusion, will be in Rudder Auditorium at 7:30
p.m. Tuesday.
“We call the show ‘Theatre of Illusion’ because we really want to break the stereotype of what people think of when they think of a magic show,” Spencer said. “It is a combination of my love for theater and my love for magic.”
In designing Theatre of Illusion, Spencer said he didn’t want to do a typical
Vegas show.
“It’s not that razzle-dazzle, Las Vegas thing at all,” Spencer said. “So if that’s what people are expecting, that’s not what they’re going to get.”
Spencer said the show combines all the great elements of a Broadway production with the high energy of a rock concert and wraps it around some phenomenal magic.
“I’m a firm believer that the art of illusion has the ability to move an audience, emotionally and intellectually, the same way as great dance or powerful theater or great music,” Spencer said. “But people don’t see magic performed that way.”
Spencer said he designed the show both as a contemporary, sophisticated challenge and as a portal to the audience’s sense of wonder.
“You know when we’re little kids, everything kind of fascinates us,” Spencer said. “And the older we get, we start to take for granted the wonders that happen all around us.”
Senior computer science major Andrew Rodriguez said the show is a unique experience not often found on campus.
“A lot of people don’t know about magic and it’s dying as a performing art in our country,” Rodriguez said. “I would really recommend and encourage them to see Spencer’s show, because it might not be something you would normally see.”
Rodriguez serves as the president of the Order of Aggie Illusionists, a teaching club that works to build people’s confidence with magic. The illusionists will attend Spencer’s show and have the opportunity to meet with Spencer afterward.
Spencer’s show has already enticed students looking for something different to see in College Station, like junior psychology major
Brittany Perez.
“His show seems like it would be pretty interesting,” Perez said. “I like that it isn’t a typical Vegas show and brings in elements of theater.”

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