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Professional magician Cooper candidly advises Liberty students

MADISON – Trace Cooper told Liberty Middle School students that a performing arts career deals more with hard work than hocus-pocus.

Trace Cooper advised Liberty Middle School students to follow their dreams but always have a backup plan. (CONTRIBUTED)
Trace Cooper advised Liberty Middle School students to follow their dreams but always have a backup plan. (CONTRIBUTED)

Cooper, a professional magician, spoke to Courtney Elrod’s drama and Christine Yeske’s career technology classes.

“Follow your dreams, and don’t listen to nay-sayers,” Cooper said. “However, performing magic takes hours and hours of rehearsal and a considerable financial investment.”

Cooper spends 10 percent of time in performance and 90 percent in rehearsal, scheduling, marketing and finance.

“I always encourage college,” Cooper said. “A solid living in magic depends on that rare ‘big break.’ Always have a degree to fall back on.” He earned bachelor’s degrees in business and computer science and master’s degree in business/accounting.

Cooper’s presentation “mesmerized the kids and gave important real-world advice for seeking a career,” Elrod said.

A Madison resident since 1967, Cooper received a magic kit at age seven, was booking magic shows by 12 and joined the International Brotherhood of Magicians at 14.

In 2005, he returned to magic and developed a 1.5-hour stage show with illusions, mentalism, sleight-of-hand, escapes and classic acts by Doug Henning and David Copperfield. His school shows have positive messages, often discussing drug prevention and anti-bullying.

Cooper’s “Dream Within a Dream” show opens with illusions, then classic magic, audience participation and a large-scale illusion finale. At Liberty, Cooper performed six tricks in parlor and sleight-of-hand magic.

His magician brotherhood wants “to raise awareness about magic as a performing art” and preserve their club’s longevity.

Teenagers interested in performing arts should take drama and public speaking courses, Cooper said. “These classes … increase the speaker’s confidence level in front of audiences.” Students can learn subtle cues, like body language, timing and sometimes even silence for showmanship.

He also discussed ethical conduct in never plagiarizing other performers’ creations and truthful advertising.

Cooper’s next show will be presented at Asbury Methodist Church on Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.

For more information, call 256-679-3856, email to cooper.trace@yahoo.com or visit coopermagic.com or Facebook/trace.cooper.

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