Amidst a weekend of presentations and Q&A sessions featuring “Harry Potter” stars, one of the highlights of the Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando has been the demonstration from wand combat choreographer Paul Harris. He boasts he’s the only person in the world with that title, having been hired to invent the graceful and powerful moves seen most prominently in the finale battle of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”
Using his extensive knowledge of dance, Harris created specific gestures and body language to represent different spells, whether a simple flick of the wrist or a striking pose. Though guests visiting the Warner Bros Studio Tour in London can learn a few of these special moves from Harris via on-screen recordings, those attending this weekend’s special event had an opportunity to be taught in person - also joined by a very special guest.
The crowd of fans went wild upon discovering that Mark Williams, who played Arthur Weasley in the “Harry Potter” films, came equipped with his wand ready to engage in battle. And so it unfolded in a high-energy presentation and tutorial filled with laughs and excitement, as seen in the video below.
Video: Harry Potter wand combat presentation with choreographer Paul Harris, Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) at Universal
I also had a chance to join a small group of press in learning from Harris one-on-one, quickly walking us through a 5-step wand routine that had me feeling like a wizard in training. I’m sure I would have lost a duel with Harris, but everyone has to start somewhere.
Video: Harry Potter wand combat lesson from choreographer Paul Harris at Universal Orlando
A group from the Warner Bros Studio Tour brought over Harris’ virtual lesson to the Harry Potter Expo, available to all Universal Orlando guests throughout this weekend along with several other exhibits, including the Gringotts Bank set used in the Diagon Alley webcast a few days ago. Also exhibiting were representatives from Pottermore, the United States Postal Service, and the touring Harry Potter Exhibition of costumes and props, along with graphic designers from Minalima.
Video: Harry Potter Expo, Gringotts set, Sorting Hat, costumes, props & more at Universal Orlando
The consensus across all of these experts and talented artists is that while “Harry Potter” fans are often quite demanding and attached to the franchise they love so much, they show a lot of appreciation for all the efforts that have been made to continue the magic far beyond the film series. Those who have been involved with any project related to the world of “Harry Potter” are happy to have their work enjoyed by so many people worldwide, excited to be able to share it in person during this weekend’s event.
More photos from the wand combat demo:
(Photos by Karin Yarnell)
More photos from the Harry Potter Expo:
(Photos by Karin Yarnell)