Magician with No Hands Masters Sleight of Hand
Becoming a professional magician is hard. Countless hours are spent mastering tricks, misdirection, and researching how to properly execute technique. Now, imagine trying to master these tricks but missing the two single most important things that are required to learn magic—hands. This was a reality that Mahdi faced, yet somehow did not let the seemingly insurmountable obstacle deter him from reaching his dream of being a magician.
Growing up in a poor neighbourhood in Toronto was tough for Mahdi. He was picked on from a young age for being different and developed a language disorder because he shut himself off from the world. Mahdi dreamed of escaping from his neighborhood and building a whole new life for himself, which is how he became attracted to magic.
Before magic, Mahdi felt powerless, like everything was impossible. Seeing magicians doing impossible things gave him inspiration to do the same. Despite not knowing anything about cards, or even being able to pick up a deck, Mahdi decided on his 17th birthday that he was going to learn magic. He would stay up in his room when his whole family was asleep, teaching himself to hold, cut, and shuffle cards.
Every single magic book is written for people with two hands. Hold the deck in the right hand, put your thumb here, right index finger here, and so on. Mahdi not only had to learn how to do tricks, but had to create his own version of each trick without using fingers. Through years of dedication and persistence he not only learned an incredibly difficult trade, but invented his own form of it—sleight of hand without any hands.
Mahdi’s career has already surpassed his expectations. He has performed all over the world and idols such as David Blaine and Pen & Teller have become friends and colleagues. Mahdi hopes his story can inspire others to pursue what they love, no matter how difficult the path may look.
With her vertical dance troupe, Aeriosa, choreographer and artistic director Julia Taffe is creating unexpected experiences of dance.
Fashion designer Treana Peake is the founder of the Obakki Foundation, who is changing lives in Africa by giving communities access to clean water, education, vocational training, women’s initiatives’ and medical care.
Tayo Branston is the drummer and lead vocalist for Five Alarm Funk, a heavy-duty funk band who is burning up stages with wild concerts, outrageous props, and hot, sweaty dance parties.