Student Spotlight: ‘Dare to Believe’
The famous Frank Sinatra song goes, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” “Here,” of course, refers to New York City and the idea of making it in the city has been a dream of people young and old long before the song became a hit and long after.
Chris Dare, a junior business management major, is a living example of someone grasping those lyrics and running with them, looking to make a name for himself in a city of 22 million. Dare, going by his preferred show name, is a self-described illusionist. He’s making a name for himself amazing students hanging around the streets near St. John’s one trick at a time.
“What I’m trying to do is become the next David Blaine,” Dare said, referring to the magician he has looked up to. “Not so much related to what he did, but to become the next big thing in magic.”
The Newburgh, N.Y. native first discovered his hobby around the age of seven, when his grandmother called and told him to go watch TV.
“My grandmother calls me up one night and she told me to turn on the TV,” Dare said. “‘There’s a magician who can levitate.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about Grandma, a magician that can levitate?’ So, being the curious child I was, I ran over to the TV and turned it on.”
Dare said that this is when he saw Blaine for the first time, sitting down on the curb on TV. There, the magician showed his deck of cards to the camera and told the audience to imagine any card inside. A young Dare picked a card in his head and was shocked when Blaine picked that same card out of the deck.
“And I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “From that point on, I’ve been doing magic.”
The illusionist went through a lot of development, as most people do, in high school. There, he appeared on his school’s morning announcement television show and developed a small following. He acquired the nickname “Magic Man” and began to take his hobby even more seriously.
“Toward the end of high school, senior year, it was all about magic. I was devoted 100% to [the idea of] Chris Dare,” he said. “When I came here, I felt like the city was where I needed to be, because there’s so much opportunity.”
Place, time and opportunity came together perfectly for Dare, when he got to meet the man that first got him interested in the magic trade one day during his first few months at St. John’s.
“[On] Halloween freshman year, David Blaine tweeted that he was going to be at an art museum in Queens,” he said. “I took the first taxi I could over there and I actually met him and performed magic with him. It was a pivotal moment in my life, a pivotal change when I really kind of performed with my inspiration. Still to this day, it’s hard to believe.”
According to Dare, the most inspiring moment of the encounter came courtesy of a comment Blaine left him, along with the magician’s phone number.
“I was doing magic back and forth with him and he mentioned that I was the best 18 year old kid he’s ever seen,” Dare said. “I was over the top, blown away.”
While Dare has videos on YouTube as well as a website at daremagic.com (you can follow his Twitter account @Daremagic), he gets most of his reputation via word of mouth. That was none more evident than last weekend, when a visiting college student saw him perform at a local party.
“Some of the tricks that he did were the normal card tricks that a lot of magicians do,” Megan Murphy, a college sophomore visiting from Long Island said. “But the one that really got me was when he somehow made the card that I picked out of the deck show up on his iPhone and then pulled the card out of his iPhone and handed it to me. It was unbelievable. I didn’t even know what to say.”
As Dare continues to amass his following around the St. John’s community and beyond, he can’t see himself leaving the New York City area.
If you want to make it big in magic, it’s either Vegas or New York. I’ll stick with New york city,” he said. “The city is the city of dreams, you can’t leave that. It’s hard to leave the city of dreams.”
While some may not buy into “New York, New York’s” notion of being able to make it big in the big city lights, Dare has a different perception on what it takes to see reality.
“I give people illusions that may seem real, but it’s that thought that maybe it is real that can change someone’s life,” he said. “If you show them something that’s impossible, they rethink what they originally thought was impossible.”