Waltzing Cheek to Cheek (Joshua Jay)
A practical and powerful card fusion effect
Magicians are always looking for ways to maximize the use of gaffs like double-backers and double-facers. One of the best effects you'll see with a "card fusion" plot is Chris Carter's Anniversary Waltz, where two signed cards impossibly fuse together. Joshua Jay has always loved Anniversary Waltz, and in Waltzing Cheek to Cheek, he's combined it with Al Leech's Cheek to Cheek. In this way he's created a suitable closer that doesn't require gaffs to be added to a deck, and can be performed without needing a table.
The plot of Anniversary Waltz makes it ideal for performing to lovers or at special occasions like a wedding or anniversary - two cards are selected and signed separately by two individuals; and after being replaced in the deck, they magically appear together, and then in the spectator's hands actually fuse together into one.
With Waltzing Cheek to Cheek, two halves of a deck are first shuffled face up and face down into each other; from which two spectators each select and sign a face up and face down card. Then all the cards are shown to have turned the same way (Triumph style), except for two cards which are adjacent - the two selected cards. Then as a final kicker, these two cards are magically fused together in the spectator's hands.
See Joshua Jay perform the effect in a demo video here - unfortunately he didn't have a "couple" to perform this to, so the performance has a few awkward moments, but nonetheless it does show the routine splendidly:
What you get for $10 is an instant download, which demonstrates and teaches the routine, with Joshua Jay himself providing the explanation. I got the video from Vanishing Magic (a site that Joshua Jay runs together with UK magician Andi Gladwin), where it is available here: https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/magic ... k-to-cheek
The site works smoothly - once purchased, the video is added to your online account under your list of digital downloads. From there, you can play the video via streaming, or download it in *.mp4 format to view on your computer with any video program. The entire video is just over 15 minutes long, of which the first four minutes have a performance, and the remaining 10+ minutes are the explanation. The downloaded file is about 100MB in total size, and the entire process of getting the file and watching it proved hassle-free for me.
Besides the performance demo with three girls, the video recording of the explanation features Josh in a studio explaining the effect, and a variety of camera angles are used to ensure that everything is clear and easy to follow.
Joshua Jay acknowledges that the origin of this routine lies in Chris Carter's Anniversary Waltz. He also gives major credit to Doc Eason, who put out the marketed version of this effect, and he had Doc's permission to put out this variation. But Josh wanted something more practical, as he explains: "I developed Waltzing Cheek to Cheek years ago because I loved Chris Carter's Anniversary Waltz (wherein two signed cards fuse together). My problem was always that it required a double-faced card and a double-backed card be ADDED to the deck, and this was difficult to manage for a closing piece. I also wanted a version that did not require a table. I was able to solve all those problems with Waltzing Cheek to Cheek."
Magicians familiar with the Anniversary Waltz routine will know that resetting the trick is one of its challenges when performing it multiple times in a walk-around setting, and what Joshua was trying to overcome was the need to get gaffs into play and out of play. Especially when performing a strong trick like this as a closer, you want to avoid the need to sneak in some gaffs at the last minute. Josh's solution: use the ideas from Al Leech's classic Cheek to Cheek deck, and combine the two routines together.
The explanation video explains the background behind the effect, and the hurdles that Josh was trying to overcome in the adjustments he was making to the usual Anniversary Waltz routine. He then goes on to explain how to make the deck. This will require your own gaffed cards, and if you have any experience with card magic, the final outcome of the effect will tell you the type of cards you're going to need. You'll use a set of those along with some other standard cards, so most magicians will already have all the cards they need to put together the special deck required.
Josh also gives some good tips for how to personalize the magic, for example by asking the couple the right kinds of questions before getting into the performance. It's advice like this that really will help make your performance memorable and create an emotional connection for your spectators, which is key to a successful performance. He's a good teacher, and does a good job of explaining everything you need to know in order to learn and perform this effect.
Even though it's not a complicated trick, because the gaffed deck does a lot of the work for you, this is not a trick suitable for beginner magicians. There are some moves that aren't present in the original Anniversary Waltz, to ensure that the gaffed deck remains hidden ahead of a face-up and face-down shuffle. The display of the Triumph effect is super clean and easy, but there are some subtleties that you need to do in order to get the correct cards signed. Josh also uses a different handling to accomplish this than the original Anniversary Waltz (no DLs, for example), which shows that he's done his own development and applied his own thought to accomplishing the effect. On a difficulty scale, I'd suggest that this is suitable for intermediate magicians, who should be able to master it with some practice, especially if they are already familiar with the sleights that are required.
The deck also isn't examinable at the completion of the trick, but Josh does suggest a method of handling which has the deck end up in the box anyway, so this isn't an issue. The real star of the show is of course the signed double-faced card, and all the focus of your spectators will be on examining it - it's nice to give them this as a memento of the special moment of magic in which two cards came together. A particularly nice thing about the final result is that it leaves you with the deck fully set-up and ready to repeat the trick for a different couple.
The card fusion concept is a very powerful one which I've always loved. The Anniversary Waltz effect takes a performance from being just another card trick to real magic, and especially when there is an emotional hook, such as a performance for a couple, it is strong and impactful. Joshua Jay's variation "Waltzing Cheek to Cheek" preserves what was good about the original effect, while adding a Triumph effect to set up the final stage, and uses different handling.
Does adding a Triumph element ahead of the fusion plot strengthen the magic or take away from it? Opinions on that will differ, and some will insist that adding a Triumph effect dilutes the impact. But there's no doubt that by adding this element, Joshua Jay has developed the effect into something that is more practical for a working magician looking to repeat it multiple times at a strolling gig. Personally I was already familiar with the Anniversary Waltz effect, so the addition of a Triumph effect initially seemed somewhat jarring to me when I first saw Josh's version performed. But that's more of a problem with me as a magician rather than a problem with the effect itself. When performing the effect for people who have never seen it before and don't know what is coming, this isn't at all going to be an issue. The routine just needs to be set up carefully, and scripted into separate distinct stages, one of which is the triumph effect. At that point your couple doesn't know what's coming, so the Anniversary Waltz kicker builds on that magic and proves to be a wonderful finale.
The only down side of getting a video download means you need to provide your own gimmicks. But most magicians will already have their own stash of DFs, so setting up the deck you need to perform this effect will be easy. Since you're handing out the fused card to your spectators at the end of the routine, you have to count on having a ready supply of these anyway. So I have no real complaints there; what you get when purchasing this effect is a video that does a good job of explaining everything you need.
I'm not the only one who is impressed with this trick. I looked up some other comments about this effect, and here's what other people have to say about it - these are mostly quotes from scattered places online:
"Without a doubt, one of the best fusion effects out there. " - Marty Jacobs
"This trick went directly into my close-up act. The set-up is brilliant, and it is simply hard hitting. It involves a whole deck set-up, but it resets automatically and you're ready to go for about 10 performances. This is a worker ... amazingly strong moments of magic." - Pepe Ruiz
"The most convincing triumph routine packed with a fusion finish." - Jérôme Damien
"Everything I'm looking for in a card trick. It's easy to perform, the magic happens in the spectator's hands, and they get to keep the playing card." - Erick Olson
"Nice effect for couples ... can get some great reactions and puzzling." - Troy
"This has definitely earned its way into my pocket for walk around magic." - Rick Hebert
"Although I love the original Anniversary Waltz, this is simpler and safer to perform." - Yul Largado
""Without doubt the strongest, most practical version of the fusion plot I've ever seen." - Joel Givens
"A practical, magical approach to a very powerful trick. There's a lot of deceptive magic in one tight routine." - Tony Chang
"I get gasps with this trick, and it is the one people walk away talking about when I perform. It leaves them with a souvenir and a memory they will cherish." - Andi Gladwin
"It works beautifully and is quite angle proof. The responses to it are strong." - Spike
"Waltzing Cheek to Cheek is definitely one of my favourite effects!! The best thing for me: you have instantly a reset for the next table." - Marc Jack
"The routining is excellent. You can look at this as a triumph/cheek to cheek routine with an anniversary waltz kicker." - Doug Brewer
"For strolling gigs, this is the best way to do Anniversary Waltz, without the need for a table and without the need to reset from group to group." - Michael Dustman
"I love the original Anniversary Waltz and have several versions, but this will now be my preferred version." - Eric Myers
Certainly the Anniversary Waltz effect is powerful enough on its own, and doesn't need adjustments to strengthen the magic. But the real advantage of Josh's version is a practical one, in that it enables working magicians to use it for table hopping in a much easier manner. So while I love the original Anniversary Waltz, and the beauty of its simplicity, I can appreciate that applying a Triumph element to this routine has the real advantage of creating an instant reset, and that will make Waltzing Cheek to Cheek something worth considering for working magicians.
Want to learn more? See Waltzing Cheek to Cheek at Vanishing Inc Magic:
https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/magic ... k-to-cheek