According to family history, Roland Sarlot’s Transylvanian grandmother could read fortunes and go into trances. Roland himself first sent a girl into a hypnotic trance at a party when he was in the 8th grade. He had just read a book on hypnotism and decided to see if he had the talent for it. He did -- but the girl’s deep trance scared him so much that he threw away the book! Roland grew up in Los Angeles close to the world famous Magic Castle, a private club for magicians, where he saw acts of legendary magicians such as Dai Vernon and Doug Henning. When Roland was in elementary school his Mexican grandmother made costumes for his performances in the Los Angeles public schools and other local venues.
After studying math and physics in graduate school, Roland moved to Tucson, Arizona, where he designed astronomical instruments such as spectrographs and telescopes. But eventually Roland returned to his first love: he decided to practice magic full time. He became the “house magician” for the popular resorts Canyon Ranch and Miraval, performing regularly for the spa guests as well as for special groups such as “the 200 most powerful women in America.” He also brought his close-up magic to children in the cancer wards at hospitals throughout Southern Arizona.
Susan grew up in the Midwest and always longed to be elsewhere. She was intrigued by Jacques Cousteau, the silent screen, and her mother’s art books. She received a degree in International Studies and eventually traveled around the world and was profoundly influenced by the cultures and arts of such countries as Morocco, India, Turkey, Japan and Senegal. In 1992 she began her studies in Middle Eastern dance and performed at Arabian night clubs in Detroit and Windsor, Canada. In 2000 she made a permanent move to Arizona, and started her own dance company, Hadia Sahara, or “Gift of the Desert.” Susan was the choreographer from 2001 to 2007, during which time the company won awards in several national competitions.
In 2002, the astronomical optics designer Roland teamed up with artist and dancer Susan to create Dance of Illusion a large stage show which combined the ancient arts of magic and dance and was based on their experiences traveling the world. When Sarlot and Eyed first decided to join forces, Susan thought she’d be a traditional magician’s assistant, the woman who gets sawed in half and holds up props for the magician. But this never happened – She studied, practiced and became one of the few female magicians in the world! From the beginning, Sarlot and Eyed developed an act that built on all their talents. Susan now combines her dancing with her own magic acts, which include the use of silver rings, veils and swords. By not coming from a magic background she brought a fresh look and new twist to the world of magic. The people who used to build Roland’s scientific instruments now build props specially designed for their custom made illusions. Together, Sarlot and Eyed have performed all over the country, from Las Vegas to Chicago, and Philadelphia to Denver, for audiences ranging from over a thousand CitiBank employees to the wheelchair-bound patients at the Tucson Veteran’s Hospital.
In 2009 Roland and Susan pared their show to an intimate 35 seat setting. Their inspiration for the show was based on the late 1800’s, the golden era of magic, where the upper crust would be entertained in the parlours of the highest echelons of society. Roland’s earlier intimate parlour show he first developed in 2004 at Miraval became the starting point for their act. They called this endeavor Carnival of Illusion, a hip Victorian-inspired theater show which played to 62 sold-out audiences in its first season. Sarlot and Eyed were the 2009 recipients for the “Gwynne Excellence in Magic” award at the oldest Magic convention in the United States. Recently they were granted “Featured Performer” status at the World Famous Hollywood Magic Castle. In Carnival of Illusion Roland Sarlot and Susan Eyed remain true to their international backgrounds combined with their personal life passions to create a magic show that audiences everywhere can enjoy.