Pick a career, any career.
That variation on a magician’s introduction to a card trick certainly applies to Greg Ladret, who has worn many hats in many countries as a figure skater and magician.
Ladret, who along with wife Dawn coaches the Comox Valley Skating Club, is also a promoter (he brought three-time world champion Elvis Stojko to Courtenay to star in the skating club’s recent ice show), a clown (Twiggly Wiggly), and has had background roles in several Hollywood films.
He is good friends with world champion magician Shawn Farquhar and has worked with Martin Nash, “The Charming Cheat” from Parksville who was once considered the top card man in the world.
Ladret spent 10 years working for Feld Entertainment performing in shows such as Walt Disney’s World On Ice, Ice Follies and Holiday On Ice.
Ladret’s magic talents are no family secret.
“My dad (Al) did parlour tricks. When we’d go to Vancouver I’d watch a white-haired Harry Blackstone Sr. doing magic on TV. I thought ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to learn how to do that stuff.”
One of a magician’s staples is the linking rings, and those rings linked Ladret’s skating and magician skills.
“I was auditioning for a skating show in Los Angeles when I was 27. I went to Hollywood Magic and bought a set of linking rings. It didn’t come with any instructions, but I learned them playing around with them.”
Ladret then honed his skills on skating tours in Europe.
“I used to do a magic show for every opening night at a press party to promote the skating show,” he recalls.
He has also lent his legerdemain prowess to Nanaimo and Port Alberni, and says he would enjoy doing the same in the Comox Valley through local rec centres if there is enough interest.
Keeping with the “now you see it, now you don’t” theme, you might have to pay attention to his background roles in major movies. But his special skills (such as cowboy rope tricks) and acting lessons have had him rubbing shoulders with film legends such as Jack Lemmon, Meg Ryan, Olympia Dukakis, Hal Holbrook and Leslie Neilsen.
It’s all good fun for Ladret, who as a clown, magician or coach can make a smile appear on a face as easily as he can make a coin disappear.