78 years of excellence in sleight-of-hand training, coaching and consulting!

A message from Ben Chavez



"In the whole field of legerdemain, the highest accomplishment of the conjurer is displayed in the area of 'PRESTIDIGITATION' which is the development of manual dexterity to a degree of which the eye cannot follow the movement of the fingers when the performer does the sleights."

"Prestidigitation is an art that can be acquired by any earnest student.  It is based upon abilities possessed by almost everybody.  Prestidigitation is the one branch which demonstrates skill and talent.  All other magic is subservient to this art.  With it you are a MAGICIAN - - without it, you are a trickster."

"Many have learned this art, YOU can learn it, too!"

--Ben Chavez--

Chavez Studio Overview


Sleight of Hand

Even though the Chavez Studio promotes all forms of magic, the specialized emphasis is in Sleight-of-hand (aka stage manipulation).  This is the most beautiful, well respected form within the art of magic.  While other forms of magic require the aid of mechanical devices and gimmicks, manipulation requires the mastery of skills and dexterity on behalf of the performer.  Amazing feats are seemingly accomplished at the finger tips of the magician.  


What you will learn

Students well become well acquainted with the many facets of performing magic. Principles of manipulation, showmanship and stagecraft begin with the first class session and continue throughout the course of study.

Sleight-of-hand methods with cards, balls, coins, thimbles and similar objects are emphasized.  Additionally, special exercises will be shown in order to help develop correct hand coordination and flexibility.  

All material learned in the previous session will be reviewed in each subsequent class as new material is introduced.  In other words, each week builds on the previous week(s) lessons in order to advance the student to a higher level of skill mastery in a practical and tangible way.  


Ethics - A longstanding tradition

The art of prestidigitation has survived through the centuries. Magicians have always been proud of the art and have kept its secrets well.  The methods now in existence are the product of years of work and experimentation by performers in the past.  The present popularity of magic call for caution on the part of magicians, both professional, and non-professional.  In the interest of continuing the rich heritage and exclusivity of this great art, a pledge of secrecy is required.  The Pledge to the Magical Profession is traditionally signed by all Chavez students.  


As a profession, semi-profession or for leisure

As a profession, performing as a career is thrilling as it offers independence.  While working for yourself as a professional entertainer, you will discover that throughout the world there is a feeling of fellowship among those who perform magic as a full-time profession.

Those who do not wish to leave their regular occupation will gain satisfaction while earning a fine income performing in their free evenings and weekends.  People in all walks of life have bettered themselves through the prestige and self-confidence derived from their knowledge learned throughout the Chavez course. 

For those who seek performing magic as a pastime or hobby will find unlimited opportunity for self-expression in Sleight-of-Hand. Business and professional people, while successful in their own right, still sometimes feel that some of the worthwhile pleasures in life are passing them by.  By learning magic and manipulation as a means of entertaining their friends, they are able to fulfill an ambition to do creative work!


Final thoughts

The Chavez Studio of Magic has been training magicians for 78 years.  In that time, our materials have been prepared by magicians with years of teaching and performing experience.  Chavez training is comprehensive, practical and authoritative.  The opportunity is yours as this wealth of knowledge is available to you.  We invite you to join us.  We are confident you will find the program to be the most interesting, enjoyable and rewarding study you have ever undertaken! 

The Chavez Story


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Moving Ahead


Marion Chavez

As an accomplished veteran entertainer and master sleight-of-hand artist in her own-right, Marion Chavez (stage name Delores) continued with the school's instructional operations after the passing of her husband, Ben, in 1961.  The school ran continuously and upon her passing, it was her request that all personal instruction was to be continued by former student and accomplished performer, Neil Foster.  


Neil Foster

Upon accepting the responsibility and role of conducting personal training in the Chavez style of stage manipulation, the school was moved to Neil Foster's personal studio in 1979, which at that time was located in what was considered at that time "The Magic Capitol of the World" in Colon, Michigan.  Over time, with the assistance of co-director and owner Chris Jakway, the Chavez Studio moved to Battle Creek, Michigan.  After the passing of Neil Foster in 1988, Chris accepted the duties of sole proprietor and Dean of the Chavez Studio of Magic and continued the studio's role of offering personal instruction in sleight-of-hand and stage manipulation skills.


Larry Wirtz

Larry Wirtz completed the Chavez course of studies with honors and with the addition of advance training, earned him the recognition of a Master Sleight-of-Hand Artist.  This led to the position of Assistant Instructor and eventually Head Instructor in teaching the art of stage manipulation and sleight-of-hand magic.  Currently, Larry holds the distinction of being the studio's fifth generation Director of the Chavez Studio of Magic.

The tradition of personal sleight-of-hand training in the Chavez tradition continues as Larry maintains a full performing and speaking schedule.  Chavez training is conducted on a select and limited bases with students who are serious about dedicating the time required to master the skills taught.  Training takes place at Larry's personal studio located just outside of Chicago, Illinois in Northwest Indiana.   

What To expect

Sleight-of-Hand Methods


Sleight-of-hand methods with cards, balls, coins, thimbles and similar objects are emphasized.  Additionally, Chavez training encourages students to develop original effects, routines and methods as to have them tailored to their own personality for an authentic performance.



Showmanship as well as all of the elements essential for a successful performance will be covered.  In addition to learning misdirection, timing, stage deportment, as well as entrances, exits and bows, students will also learn the aspects of stagecraft and microphone technique.  

The Business of Show Business


Understanding the "business" in show-business is paramount.  Topics such as agents, contracts, confirmation letters and agreements will be covered in addition to traditional and electronic marketing along with various promotional methods will be covered throughout the course of study. 


Here is a video clip from the Red Skelton Show that aired on February 9, 1954.  In this skit, you will see the one and only Ben Chavez - founder of the Chavez Studio of Magic (the only known existing footage to date).  This is the entire 15 minute clip and Ben comes into play at about the 7 minute mark.  He is the gentleman who is sitting at the table shuffling cards and demonstrates a very brief sampling of his manipulation skills as the scene progresses.  Hope you enjoy this rare treat!

Contact Information

Larry Wirtz

PO Box 837 - Crown Point, Indiana 46308

(219) 662-1530

Thank you for visiting!