by Raul Menchaca
HAVANA, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- A woman disappears before everyone's eyes; paper butterflies flutter on the stage... the astonished Cuban audience erupts in delirious applause.
It is the "MagiCuba" 2018 Festival. The event, the first of its kind in Cuba, gathered 40 of the world's top magicians from Wednesday until Sunday in Havana.
Theaters, cabarets and even public squares have served as a stage for the show of Cuban and foreign magicians, "giving a new spirit to a city marking its five centuries of life," Sebastian Alfonso, one of the spectators, told Xinhua.
Alfonso, a Havana resident in his sixties, said that he had been passionate about magic since he was a child, but hardly knows a couple of tricks to entertain his grandchildren.
Among the foreign magicians, almost all men, stands out Jade, a beautiful woman born in Indonesia of Chinese parents, who zealously defends the several millennia-old culture of China in each of her performances.
Jade, whose real name is Chen Bixin, presented a show, mixing the traditional Chinese music with the use of implements such as umbrellas and scarves, and achieving an exquisite illusion.
The artist, on her first trip to the Caribbean island, said she was impressed with the warmth of the Cubans, describing them as a "devoted and affectionate audience."
"I would like to come back if there is another opportunity, because this is the first time that international magicians come to Cuba, but if another festival like this is organized in the coming years, I want to participate again," she said.
Jade highlighted the skill of the magicians in the island and expressed her admiration for their high commitment to the art.
In this sense, the magician praised Roger Ruiz, leader of the Cuban company "RuizMagia", who maintains a glamorous show throughout the year in the famed resort of Varadero.
"The tricks that the magician Roger does are phenomenal," said Jade.
Ruiz, a young man who is no more than 30 years old, said the festival is just wonderful.
"All the magicians that we have here are great stars of the world magic and they have contributed a lot to us," said Ruiz, who presented a show in which he and a lady suddenly vanished before the audience.
Two of the most recognized participants of the magic festival are Jorge Blass from Spain and the magician-comedian Mac King, a famous American artist from Las Vegas.
The event is organized by the Rose Marketing Ltd. Agency, together with the island state's National Council of the Performing Arts (CNAE).