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Joanie Spina

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Joanie Spina
DiedAugust 17, 2014

Joanie Spina (1953-2014) was an American magician, dancer, choreographer and director who achieved prominence through her work with illusionist David Copperfield.[1]


Spina grew up in the town of Woburn, Massachusetts, near Boston. She first began dancing seriously as a child but gave up when she was aged 11. Later, at the age of 26, while working in a bar job, she returned to dance as a means to lose weight. Taking ballet and jazz classes helped her decide that her vocation lay in performing arts. She then began acting and voice classes as well. Although told she was too old to be attempting to begin a career as a performer she persevered on the basis that she could at least teach. In the following two years she danced with a few local companies in the Boston area and then moved to New York.


In January 1985, while looking for the next step in her career, Spina answered an advert for a dancer in a show with "an international stage and television star".[2] The star turned out to be magician David Copperfield and he hired her. She worked for Copperfield for the next 11 years, spending eight and a half of them as his lead assistant. She also became his choreographer and co-director.[3] Her work included choreographing ten of Coppefield’s CBS television specials and his Broadway show Dreams and Nightmares.[2] Among the well-known routines Spina contributed to were Copperfield's "Water levitation" and his signature "Flying" illusion.[4]

Spina eventually left Copperfield's team and developed her own solo magic act, which she performed in locations including Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and the Bahamas. In 2000, she withdrew from performing and began to concentrate on a directing career. Her clients in this role have included Mark Kalin and Jinger, Princess Tenko, Tim Kole, Melinda Saxe, Jeff Hobson, Juliana Chen, The Spencers, Dirk Arthur, and Lawrence & Priscilla.[2]

In addition to her directing work she has launched a video-making business.[2]


  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 In Her Words: Joanie Spina MAGIC Magazine Vol. 17 No. 11 (July 2008)
  3. Magical Women: Interview with Joanie Spina
  4. Joanie Spina
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