How to Levitate- Everything You Need to Know

Is levitation really possible? I will teach you a technique you can perform that will convince your audience you can levitate. This is the trick David Blaine did to get his first television special. It is that good! Here is how to levitate:

  • MAKE SURE YOUR ANGLES ARE GOOD
  • FOCUS YOUR AUDIENCE
  • BUILD UP THE EFFECT
  • POSITION YOURSELF
  • PREPARE YOURSELF
  • LEVITATE
  • LAND
  • RECOVER & EXAGGERATE

You will learn in step by step detail how to perform this amazing levitation. I will also teach you how Criss Angel levitates, he uses a different technique. Keep reading!

THE BALDUCCI LEVITATION

This levitation is named after the magician who first described it over 75 years ago. The levitation is very angle sensitive. This means it looks good only when you see it from the correct position. You can only perform this for a few people at a time and they have to be in the right spot. It is very important to consider this otherwise you will not fool your spectators. It is best to wear jeans or pants that are a little baggy over your shoes.

FOCUS YOUR AUDIENCE

I recommend doing this levitation for only 1 or 2 people. It is extremely angle sensitive and you need to control where your audience is. Start off right next to your spectators. Tell them you want to show them something special that they are not going to believe. Don’t tell them you are going to levitate, it is better to catch them off guard.

POSITION & PREPARE YOURSELF

Take 2 steps forward, 2 steps to your right, and rotate your body a tiny bit to the right. Your spectators should be behind you looking at you from your back left side. Place your feet together. They will only be able to see the left side of your left foot and the back of both feet. Look back for a second and tell your spectators to watch your feet.

Levitate

LEVITATE & LAND

Spread your arms and bend slightly at your knees. Stand up straight and slowly rise up on your right tippy-toes as high as possible. Keep your left foot perpendicular to the ground. Hold this position for 1 or 2 seconds and then slowly descend back down to the ground. When you land bend your knees and bring your arms back down. Then stand up straight.

Close

RECOVER & EXAGGERATE

Some magicians like to act like the levitation takes a ton of energy and drains them. You could shake your head as if you were out of it and composing yourself. It all depends on how you want to present the trick. Here is a really strong subtlety I was given years ago by master coin magician David Roth. He is an expert at this trick and actually learned it from Ed Balducci himself.

how high

Turn to your spectators and say “how high did I go this time?” While you say this gesture with your hands held pretty far apart as if that is how high you usually levitate off the ground. Though you only raise up a little bit this subtlety paints a picture in the minds of your spectators that you levitated much higher than you really did.

IMPORTANT POINTS

Balancing is kind of hard to do. You will wobble naturally which adds to the illusion. You can raise up on the opposite foot if you want. Just make sure to stand diagonally to the left of your spectators, instead of to the right of them.

I’ve seen some guys rotate in a semi-circle when they are up on their tippy-toes. Personally I don’t think it adds that much to the levitation. I also don’t think it is worth it. It you rotate too far to one side you risk being caught. Levitate straight up, pause for 1 second, and come back down. It is enough.

This is the type of magic that should be done once in a while as a special trick, only when the situation is right. I would not rely on it. If your audience is at the wrong angle or they won’t stay in one spot don’t do the levitation.

Some magicians like to include a lot of showmanship and buildup before the levitation. They like to sell the trick as if it is extremely difficult and they have to mentally and physically prepare. They take deep breaths, do some head rolls, shake out their body, and do a few stretches. Personally I do none of that.

People will beg you to do it again. DO NOT repeat it. Best case scenario you will fool them again, most likely they will catch you. This is the type of trick that gets the strongest reaction when they don’t know what to expect.

PRACTICE: Film yourself to see how it looks and also ask someone you trust to help you with the angles. This is not a difficult trick, you can learn it in 20 minutes.

DAVID BLAINE LEVITATES

David Blaine performed this amazing trick on his first television special. The reactions he got from it were all real. The spectators were not in on it and they were truly amazed. What wasn’t real was the footage of the levitation itself. They used video editing to make it look much better than it is. It seemed like David floated 5 feet off the ground. They combined real reactions with edited footage.

There were definitely times when spectators caught David. Those times didn’t make the final cut. They show David levitating for groups of 5-10 people. There is no way all of them were fooled. With good camera work and focusing on the right spectators we are led to believe that everyone in the group was fooled. This is fine for television, not for the real world. This is not the most practical trick and should be used sparingly.

CRISS ANGEL LEVITATION

Criss Angel performed an amazing levitation on his A & E Series Mindfreak. He floated straight up off the sidewalk onto a ledge right on the streets of Las Vegas. He did the same thing in a bar. It looked incredible!

I will briefly go over the method yet I’ll tell you up front, this levitation is completely impractical. You will never perform it. Like the Balducci levitation it is very angle sensitive. The difference is there is a major setup involved. You can’t just do it when the time is right. It has to be well planned in advance. This is the type of trick that is great for video or television.

CLOTHING SETUP

SHOES

  • Black shoes that you can easily slip in and out of.
  • Install strong magnets on the sides so the shoes stick together.
  • Put velcro on the backs of the shoes so they will stick to your pants.

CUSTOM PANTS

  • Black, baggy with some weight to it, smooth satin material.
  • A carefully constructed slit with an overlap in the front of one leg.
  • Pair of suspenders to keep the pants up.
  • A shell to maintain the shape of the pants when you step out.
  • Velcro on the back that sticks to your shoes.

HOW TO DO IT

Put on a black pair of tights under your pants. Put on your pants and shoes. Attach the velcro. Put on your suspenders. Wear a loose black button down shirt over it to cover everything.

  • Stand in front of some sort of raised platform.
  • Position your spectator directly behind you at a little distance.
  • Step out of the shoe & pants and plant your foot on the raised surface.
  • Balance yourself, arch your back, and raise your arms.
  • Slowly come straight up, sort of like a lunge.
  • Land with your empty shoe under the heel of your foot.
  • Balance yourself and slip your leg back into your pants and shoe.

AT HOME CONSTRUCTION

You can construct this whole thing much more easily for a one time social media video performance.

  • Tape or rubberband your shoes together.
  • Cut a slit in a pair of baggy jeans or sweat pants.
  • Stuff your pant leg with socks. Tuck your pants into your shoe.

IMPORTANT POINTS

You can either perform this for one spectator directly behind you or a camera directly behind you. There are no other good angles. If you have a lot of distance between you and your audience you could do it for more than one person.

Criss filmed this with spectators on the sides of him and they seemed to be amazed. This is a complete lie. These spectators saw the method, they were all in on it and faking their reactions.

CRISS ANGEL LEVITATES SHAQ

Did Criss levitate Shaq? The video shows Shaq being levitated up over his house. Complete nonsense! To me this is too much. There has to be some sort of limit of acceptable camera editing. Yet there is no limit. Criss Angel pretty much has no shame in what he puts out. He uses major video editing, tons of cutaways, and fake spectators (stooges). When he seemingly levitates someone on the street, they are also in on it.

IS LEVITATION POSSIBLE

No! We cannot levitate. Magicians have been coming up with methods for hundreds of years to give the illusion that they are levitating themselves or others. It makes sense, levitation is a visual and amazing trick. I have also seen some unbelievable Photoshopped photography which would make you swear someone is floating. No matter how good it looks, levitation is not possible.

LEVITATE THROUGH MEDITATION

In researching this trick I found articles online where people discuss levitating through meditation. They talk about breathing, focusing, and concentrating. This is complete NONSENSE! You can do all that for the rest of your life, you will never levitate. Sorry!

I wrote an article about Telekinesis (moving objects with your mind) which you can check out here. There are some amazing tricks that I teach yet, like levitation, it is not real. Same thing though, I found websites claiming you can do telekinesis through meditation. I guess people really want to believe.

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Matt

Hi, I'm Matt Furman. I have been a full time professional magician for over 20 years, ever since I left medical school to pursue my passion of magic tricks. I have a ton of real world experience and I am constantly practicing and performing new mind blowing magic.