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Who Would Want to Be a Knife Thrower's Assistant?

Question: Who was your first human target?

David Adamovich:  Well, after the five years of competition throwing and aiming, and aiming to specifically put a knife in a two-inch bull’s-eye, I know how to refocus my entire thinking and say, okay, the guy... the person in the middle is the target, but he’s not really the target, I want to be just a few inches to the side.  And I recruited this guy who works for a printer that did my printing and he said, “Oh, I’d love to stand there and be your target.  I didn’t really tell him he was my first target.  But he stood at the board and I psyched myself up and I did this profile of knives up one side and then the other side and after the ten knives were in the board, he jumps away and he goes, “That was so good.  It was more fun than when I had my nipples pierced!  Can we do it again?”  And that’s a true story about the first person I ever threw knives around.  

But from him it became target girls, not target guys.  Target guys on stage don’t work.  You need a pretty girl with a nice figure who’s afraid to stand there... I’m sorry, who’s not afraid to stand there and be very brave and look like she’s enjoying it at the same time.  So, I have a variety of target girls each with their own personalities, each with their own issues, like I have issues. But we kind of work everything out and they stand there and we do our act and the audience loves to see the interaction between the thrower and the target. The entire act is really a cabaret-style act where I like to perform it in front of a live audience that I’m talking to them at the same time as I go through the stunts, and then there's this interaction between the target girl and myself and it’s, you know, it’s got tension, it’s got energy, the audience is wondering perhaps are these two up to something when they’re not on stage?  We never tell.  We do what we have to do.  We do our act and we let the audience wonder what’s going on between us.  

Question: Why would anyone want to be a target girl?

David Adamovich:  So who does somebody contact me, or I would ask a certain person, “How would you like to be a target girl?”  And very often, it’s the girls who have a variety act background of their own that want to also be a knife thrower’s assistant.  One of them is a hula-hoop artist, another one is a contortionist, another one has an act where she lies on a bed of machetes and nails, and another girl is a sideshow performer from Coney Island.  So these type of girls are used to being on stage, are used to doing dangerous things, for the most part, on their own, but then decide, "Well, besides my own act, I’d like to work with a magician or a knife thrower and be the target girl or the magician’s assistant."  And they are the ones that work out best for me.

Recorded on July 15, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller

Though Throwdini’s first target was a man, all the rest since have been women. Part of the act’s appeal is wondering what happens off-stage, he says.

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