Fiery red-headed Ekaterina Dobrokhotova was born in Moscow, but immigrated to Quebec at eight years old. You might have seen her perform in Russia, Lebanon, Canada, NYC, or Las Vegas - where she's also lectured at the IMX magic convention. According to her, the true secret of magic is not about how good you are, but about how you make people feel.
In addition, Ekaterina graduated from Concordia University, and when she's not performing, she's working as a social media consultant for luxury brands in the beauty/cosmetics industry.
In December of 2011, Ekaterina released her debut cardistry DVD Pure, featuring 15 unique and challenging flourishes.
Q&A with Ekaterina
How did you get started in Cardistry?
I learned my first flourishes from a magic DVD at the age of 16 - the basics like fans, table spreads and one handed cuts. In addition, I started learning productions from Jeff McBride's material.
At 17, I discovered card manipulation videos via youtube - an array of videos posted from various people. It blew me away. I have a background in juggling, so it definitely caught my eye. I discovered a ton of ways to make a fan and was introduced to complex cuts. I first learned by copying what I saw in the videos, but soon was equipped with every single Cardistry DVD out there; I was hooked.
Even though I was a typical teen entering college, I didn't play video games or watch TV for entertainment - instead I practiced card moves. It became a real addiction since time, persistence, and practice made me better. I posted my progress each step of the way via YouTube. I've had to remove a few videos since then because they're a bit embarrassing, but it goes to show that I am not "naturally" talented.
Who are some of your inspirations?
My inspirations change all the time, but if I had to summarize: Jerry Cestkowski and Dan and Dave Buck for complex cuts. Andrei & Dimitri for style and creativity. Music and various genre artists which help me build a character also inspire me.
Do you have a favorite flourish?
I have quite a few habitual flourishes, but I have to say that I love fans and tend to perform them all the time.
Who is your favorite Cardist to watch?
I would have to say Dimitri on video and Andrei on stage.
Do you perform magic?
Yes, I started as a magician and still am. I score more shows with magic, but always integrate Cardistry. In fact, magic is what gave me enough authority to introduce Cardistry on stage. I would get booked for magic, but squeeze in a card manipulation act. Sometimes though, I get strictly hired for Cardistry.
What is your creative process?
Most often, my creative process comes from practice. I would practice so much that sometimes cards slip or an interesting error occurs. I try to reproduce that error and come up with something derived from it. I believe it takes a set of basic skills before attempting to create visually appealing 'accidents'. Other times, I challenge myself within set circumstances. For example, in a card manipulation tournament I was supposed to create a table work routine. I was forced with pressure and time. After spending a couple of nights experimenting I came up with an original routine. I find myself more creative at night because I am not a morning person.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in Cardistry?
The quote I use during my lectures goes as follows: 'Anything worth getting is hard to get.' A lot of magicians have approached me to tell me that what I do is not worth it; a waste of time. my reply to that would be: Why then is it so hard? Why can't anyone just learn it? Why does it take me 10 times less to learn a sleight or magic trick with cards? The motor skills you acquire with Cardistry will serve you in your magic and give you expertise not many have. Trust me, people will pay to see skill combined with art. My advice is to treat Cardistry as an art form and make it uniquely beautiful and representative of yourself. Don't copy moves or worry about finger positions...practice and enjoy it. Don't be afraid to share your passion with others, because you never know how or when you may inspire someone.