Story of a… Magician
Kostya Kimlat, 31, created a career out of magic using some sleight-of-hand and a lot of hard work.
“I was 12 years old when I watched a show called The World’s Greatest Magic. I recorded it on VHS and watched it 50 times. I was hooked.” Nearly two decades later, Kimlat has shared the stage with every magician from that show, performing on five continents. Not bad for a kid who got his start in the 8th grade when he walked into a Don Pablo’s restaurant in Casselberry and asked if he could do magic tricks for the diners. “I walked out a half-hour later with $12 in my pocket, and I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life.”
Building on the three-trick repertoire he used to launch his career, Kimlat read every magic book in the library. “Then I went to the local magic club in Orlando, the International Brotherhood of Magicians. My parents would drop me off for the meetings, and the magicians would see what I had practiced and then give me something else to work on. I think they were grateful for a new generation. One of my mentors told me it was my responsibility to pass it on.”
In the 13 years since his first five-city tour, Kimlat has trained hundreds of up-and-coming magicians. He also started his own company, Magic Show Orlando, which employs a team of 10 who perform interactive magic at weddings, private parties, Orlando Magic games, and at Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster. Kimlat does a dinner show there every Saturday night that showcases his illusionist-meets-mentalist style.
“I have a very small number of tricks in the vault; a few select signature items that I won’t teach to other magicians. For me it’s an art form. Very little of what I do is other people’s tricks. Most of what I do is my own.”
“I use simple objects like cards, coins, lighters, markers, newspapers, magazines and dictionaries. The job of the magician is to make the impossible seem possible. That’s what I strive to do whether I am performing up-close sleight-of-hand magic or presenting theatrical mind-reading on stage.”
How does he do it? “Well it’s not witchcraft, I promise. The theatrical conjuring that I present on stage is a combination of human psychology, misdirection, sleight-of-hand and showmanship. Magic is a beautiful and honest deception.”
As for hecklers, he says he doesn’t have them. “I can read someone’s personality type and within 15 seconds be able to break the ice and win them over,” says Kimlat, who teaches a course called Chemistry of Personality when he’s wearing his corporate trainer hat to work with Fortune 500 clients like GE and Sysco. “I don’t teach you to be a magician, but to think like a magician. Sales and service are very much like a magic trick; it’s the art of seeing things from another person’s perspective. In my shows, I’m always considering how everyone is seeing something I’m doing.”