For an illusionist, a magician's assistant/dancer is the backbone of the performance. They are just as much part of the act as the magician, and honestly, maybe even a bit more important. A magicians assistant may not be out there doing fancy card manipulations, or sleight of hand routines, but they are none the less, doing magic with the way they utilize their bodies in the execution of large scale illusions. There is a dynamic difference between a good assistant and a great one. A good assistant will present their part of the illusion well, but will not add much to the routine other than being the person involved in the illusion. A great assistant on the other hand will stand out. They will make that routine unique. Their very presence can pull you in and arrest your attention on them. A great assistant can make an illusionist look like a super star!
I just heard the news today that Nathalie Padberg Hoop passed away. I felt like someone punched me when I heard the news. I never knew Nathalie. Never had the good fortune to meet her. But she was one of my favorite assistants in magic, she was a GREAT assistant! Her work with Hans Klok was phenomenal. She made every trick, every illusion look like a million dollars. I often thought when searching for my own assistants, that this young lady is what I'm looking for, she is the example of the perfect female assistant.
I might add, I dislike that term assistant. I think Hans Klok must have also hated it because he referred to his girls as the Divas of Magic. THAT is a more fitting term, especially for his dancers and assistants. They had their own personalities on stage, they were not carbon copies of each other, easily interchanged. I love when a performers personality shines through and it sure did with Nathalie.
Her intro into the world of magic began with Dutch Illusionist Hans Kazan. And then after being with him for a short time, she went to work with Hans Klok in 1999. In 2016 she retired from showbiz to work on her own business and to be a Mom. Though, apparently the larger story was she had been diagnosed with cervical cancer. In 2019 when Hans Klok came to Vegas with this big show, she appeared in the show on one special night, as I recall.
She passed away this week from cancer at the age of 43. She leaves behind a son and daughter and husband. And she leaves behind many friends and fans from the magic community. RIP Nathalie.
The only thing I can add is, I HATE CANCER. I've lost uncles and aunts and my Mom to cancer. I hate this disease.