When someone asks Sabine Van Diemen, “So what do you do?” her answer isn’t a predictable one. She could say, “Oh, I free myself from padlocked chains underwater.” But the short answer is that Van Diemen is an illusionist, a type of magician, currently in her second season with “The Illusionists Live from Broadway,” which is coming to Rutland’s Paramount Theatre at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 16.
Fifteen years ago she was a dancer with The Holland Show Ballet when the assistant of the magician in the show got injured. It turned out to be Van Diemen’s lucky break.
“They looked around and pointed at me and asked do you want to do it? You have an hour to learn four illusions. I was like, well, let’s try,” Van Diemen said by phone recently. “That evening I looked into the audience, and they were in awe. I thought this is cool, I want to keep doing this.”
She was a magician’s assistant for years before her first solo performance, and today it’s her face on the posters of the shows she’s in, including the London West End show “Impossible,” “The Illusionists Live from Broadway” and as one of the four horsemen in “Now You See Me Live.”
Van Diemen tries to create new tricks on a regular basis, saying, “If you can come up with an original illusion you can make lots of money, but (it’s) very difficult because almost everything has been done.”
“I like to take the forgotten illusions, the classics, and turn them into 2019 high-energy entertainment pieces,” she said.
One of the illusions she’ll do in the Rutland show is a modern version of the escape trick, first made famous by Harry Houdini and named in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest transformation illusion. But it will have Van Diemen’s unique spin on it, and her first step in developing an illusion, is to ask her fiancé, a composer, for music.
“I think because I’m a dancer, I work the best if I have music on,” she said. “Even if I don’t even use that piece of music for a trick, it inspires me. I hear the beat and I think, I can do this here, or I can, for example, put the lock on, or open it here.”
In addition to Van Diemen’s performance, the show covers every corner of magic from “mentalism, to danger, to comedy.”
“It’s illusionists who have all had a successful career in magic,” says magician Rick Thomas, who is also part of the show. “All of us have had lifelong successful shows and it’s taken the best of what each of us does and put it together.”
“There’s really something for everyone,” Van Diemen said. “It’s nice for kids, nothing childish, but it is kid-friendly.”