As I was coming near the end of writing the blog about this question “What moves to pick in a performance”, I realized something, “This question can be interpreted in different ways”.
In the previous blog, I gave you my interpretation of the question, my experience and a bit of theory that I think is interesting to you. But, for the sake of answering the question more completely, here is a blog with the literal interpretation.
When I’m performing magic I still like to think about the circumstances when I’m picking what to use, However, some moves are just good for most circumstances.
Even though some moves are good for most circumstances, I like to still ask my self the question “Where am I performing?”, because, some moves just make more sense in certain scenarios. If I have a table, it makes more sense to me to actually use the table and do tabled shuffles and cuts, or even a routine that requires the table, like Merlins Aces or Triumph.
Another big thing for me to consider is the visibility of the moves and the angles. If I’m performing on a stage, in a parlor setting or for 1 person, the things that you can play with changes.
Some color changes look amazing on stage or in the parlor, but are tricky to pull off surrounded, A good example of such a change is Bertram’s one-handed change (Described in “The Magic And Methods Of Ross Bertram”).
For another example of visibility, we can look at different methods of doing a double lift. If I were doing magic on stage I wouldn’t do a Steward Gordon Double lift in the classic sense, because the chance is big that half of the audience cannot see the card and even if some people can see the card, the edge of the card might end on the eye-line of the spectator and they cannot see the face.
I would, for example, choose to perform a push-off double lift while I turn my right shoulder to the audience and I lift the deck in a vertical position so that the face of the card faces the audience directly.
We could also modify the Steward Gordon double-lift and first make it rotate lengthwise using our middle finger to hold it and the ring finger to rotate it face-up and in this action doing the same as the steward Gordan making the cards turn vertical and face the audience.
Another thing I would think about while choosing the moves I use, would be the sound. Sound can be both a good thing and a tell (even a magical gesture, but that is a conversation for a different time). Certain moves just make quite some sound, this means they would be less ideal to use for close-up, however, on a stage they are more acceptable.
Sound can also be a good thing as I said, If I would be standing on a stage I would performing a riffle shuffle instead of an overhand-shuffle because the riffle shuffle and the bridge make quite some sound. The audience in the back can still hear what is being done.
If we are looking at close-up magic with cards I like to look at my circumstances and think in terms of the experience.
Let’s say I want to change 1 card into another and I need to control a selection to the top. If the circumstances allow it, I prefer to do a side-steal. The side-steal can look clean, it looks like they just peeked at a card and then the top card changes into their card a moment later, the card they peeked is unmistakably in the middle.
However, If I would perform the piece surrounded I might use another ruse, I would use a spread pass, or, I would use the side-steal and use some of Malini’s logic: “If you have to fait a week”.
I think that to the question: "which moves to choose" there is not really a clear answer. It is really up to the performer.
It is up to how comfortable you are, what is natural to you, your mannerisms and what kind of experience you want to give to your audience.
I hope that with giving you some of my thoughts and process of thinking, this brings you closer to getting an answer to your question.