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Amélie van Tass

Amélie van TassAmélie van Tass, born on November 11th 1987 in Saint Pölten, Austria is a mentalist, magician and entertainer along with her partner, Thommy Ten. Their show, The Clairvoyants is part of the touring company, The Illusionists.

They met in October of 2011 and began to develop their “second sight” act, then two months later brought it on stage for the first time. Within a year they had developed a full length show.

Shortly thereafter, they started touring Europe. The Clairvoyants have traveled the world as part of the touring company of The Illusionists with The Illusionists 1903, The Illusionists 2.0, and The Illusionists-Live from Broadway.

In 2016, they decided to take part in the biggest talent show in the world, “America’s Got Talent.” After four months, six different performances and over 100.000 contestants, America voted them second place.

More recently, in early 2019 they were personally invited to compete in the AGT spinoff, America’s Got Talent: The Champions, wowing the judges with every performance.

Being part of not one, but two highly successful TV shows has proved them to be a force to be reckoned with and a huge boost in the evolution of their career.

Amélie van TassIn October 2016 they appeared together with winner Grace Vanderwaal, at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. Being part of this show was another major step in their career.

Van Tass and Ten were awarded “The German Champions of Mentalism,” “Magicians of the Year 2015,” and, also in 2015, were enthusiastically chosen as the “World Champions of Mentalism,” a prize that hasn’t been awarded in 30 years.

During the winter of 2016 they experienced another career highlight, headlining the show “The Illusionists - Turn of the Century” in the Palace Theatre in New York City, on Broadway. The show was the best selling magic show in Broadway history.

In April 2017 the Academy of Magical Arts and The Magic Castle Hollywood awarded Thommy Ten & Amélie van Tass "Stage Magicians of the Year 2016" for their extraordinary art.

According to Jinger Leigh - an American female magician "the Clairvoyants are a really good example of the choice of material. Working in teams is the same thing – when you do intelligent magic, and there’s a perceived skill from the female it’s hard to deny, and I would not think that anybody would deny Amélie that there’s a skill involved in being smart enough to perform in the way she performs."

Females are perceived most often as “the Magician’s Assistant” in this day and age, however, all magician’s assistants in history before the Golden Age of magic were men. So it was sawing a man in half and it was always the men, because women’s costume and wardrobe didn’t allow itself to be placed on tables and things.

Amélie van TassSo it wasn’t until the Golden Age in 1921 when P. T. Selbit was getting ready to do the sawing a man in half magic and he suggested - because it was an unspoken political, violent act because women were going for the vote – that he decided he would get better headlines and better crowd draw if he would saw a woman in half.

And from that moment on, most of the magicians realized that women made better assistants. So you constantly must fight that, always. "It's the same in our case, we still have to always remind people that we are equal partners on stage, and it still happens that people come after the show and tell Thommy how great he was and, yes, 'His assistant was great too,' and he has to remind them and I remind them also - until things change."

Jinger Leigh has dealt with the same misconceptions: "You know, women in magic is a difficult thing. For me, it’s been a constant struggle. So, for instance, when I perform with my husband, we do a wide variety of material."

"In this show, we are only doing a few things, so it’s very important to choose what we are doing – it’s unfortunate that when a woman gets inside a box, it’s perceived that she’s the helper and she’s not doing the magic."

"So we have struggled very hard to counteract that stereotype and say one wouldn’t happen without the other, and that the magic is a partnership. And it’s essential that both the performers be strong in what they’re doing. That’s kind of always been a battle."

"That’s why sometimes if that’s in the show, then something else of mine, solo, is on the show just to give me credibility. So we have had to be careful of that because it’s a stereotype; people will believe what they believe. You can say it all you want – that the magic happens equally – but it is what it is."

Amélie van Tass"I think for women, it’s important to be true to yourself, you know? Just like in anything. You don’t have to wear slacks and a tuxedo and behave “like a man;” you can be a woman and still be popular on stage and do magic. You can." Jinger Leigh believes.

"Also the other way around, I think it’s important nowadays that people allow men to be weak, or to be another part and not be the powerful person on stage and also off stage. Men can also cook and be nurses and do all those things, so I think it’s a good age for things like that, and it’s changing. It’s changing." added Amélie.

"Men may dominate magic, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been successful women in magic in the past. In fact, there was more so in the history of magic – in the Golden Age – there were female headliners, there were illusionists and magicians at the time."

As Jinger Leigh sees it: "They may have come to magic in a slightly different way – they may not have studied it since they were five or six years old in their room practicing sleight of hand tricks. For me, I mean I do a few slight of hand things, but that’s not my area."

"My area is a presentation for the stage, you know? That’s how I perform; that’s my area of specialty. I don’t think it’s a slight on women. I just think women will find their own - that there is a place."

"It’s a process; it’s a journey. You learn a lot from your audience. You learn a lot from preparing to a certain extent because you want to have respect for your audience and be well prepared, but you also want to be open to how they respond and so you know it’s a constant learning process."

"So refining our craft, you know, you let one mistake lead to an improvement and then the next day an improvement on top of that and after you get a few thousand shows under your belt you go, “Okay,” but you have to enjoy the process as well."

Amélie van Tass"You can’t just say, 'One day, I’ll be great,' you have to enjoy and appreciate it as you go. But the audience will let you know how you’re doing and then you take that and figure out how to make this magical for them. There’s so much psychology that goes into it."

Leigh: For the stuff that I do, and for the stuff that Amélie does with the predictions and mind reading, you have to create a picture for the audience. You have to let their imaginations fill in some of the blanks."

"Stage magic is a different thing; sometimes there is a certain timing to things, a certain amount of space that has to be involved. A certain amount of what they call “convincers’ or “verifications” – something that lets people forget that it’s a puzzle, lets them go past that and they simply experience the magic."

"So that’s our job, and that’s a pretty hard job. You have to think how is their brain reacting and how is their brain reacting to tell their heart – and did I give them too much time or did I give them just the right amount of time to feel that rather than to think it?"

Amélie's 'aha' moment came when first started performing magic onstage: "When we first started working together, I was always interested in magic. But I never did it to the people; I was in the audience and experiencing it."

"So when I started performing it and getting more into the whole theme, I realized how much I could do with people and how happy I can make them and how people feel enchanted, and they can just feel this magical experience."

Amélie van Tass"And for me, this is a great feeling; I stand there onstage and do something and people will sit there with open mouths and open eyes and just don’t believe what they are seeing. And then I started to realize what I do when I am onstage, and I wanted to make it better and work on it."

"And now we are on tour worldwide, and I’m very thankful for that and also the huge acknowledgment from the people we get."

Being on tour with the Illusionists Tour Company has been extremely rewearding for Amélie: "The great thing about the show is there are very different acts - everyone in the show, the whole cast are masters in what they do, and they are the best people in the world."

"We have great illusionists, great slight-of-hand magicians, great comedy magicians. It’s a great mixture and I love being part of it. I am very thankful."

"And since it’s such a mixture, you learn a lot from the others. And I think only the mixture makes it good. And everyone does their best, and together we create this cool production."

"I am interested in doing magic without any props. And in mentalism we have - in this show, for example - we don’t have any props. In our main act, we have a blindfold, and that’s it."

"We work with the audience, their minds, and what they have in their handbags. Every night it’s different, and that’s what I enjoy. Never will there be a show that will be the same. It’s always different and it’s always challenging for us."

Amélie van Tass"I think what I love about it so much is the challenge, and that it will never get boring. Because I have to be very aware and Thommy has to be aware, and the connection has to be good - only then does it work."

"Both of us wanted it to be a partnership based on equality. We are equal partners onstage – did I forgot to mention in the Golden Age of magic, a hundred years ago, there were some female rockstars - clairvoyant rockstars - so there was this time when women were in the spotlight."

"It was clear to us from the beginning, since our style is very different and it’s all about the connection between Thommy and myself, so it just works with the two of us."

"It’s never a case of where I do something alone, or he does something alone. We have a very good connection and we want to present that connection to the audience, and then we can work together best."

"The Clairvoyance style, Mentalism – we perform onstage means every night is different. And people always ask us, Is there ever a chance of failure? Are there mistakes happening? And we say, “Of course,” because we are all human and humans make mistakes."

"And that is very interesting for the audience too so they feel, Okay, performers make mistakes so that I too can make mistakes in my life. I like the relationship between the audience and us in our performances.

Amélie van Tass"New York City's Broadway, for a performer, is probably the huge-est thing ever, next to maybe The Sydney Opera House which we did in December last year."

"It’s amazing. We love the theater; Broadway theater has a lot of history. Houdini, The Greatest Escape Artist, performed there 100 years ago, and we were standing on that very stage. This was like a very big dream come true for us."

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