Dania Kaseeva

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Hula-Hoop, Magic

By Dominique Jando

Dania Kaseeva (often billed as "Dana Kaseeva") was born on March 21, 1966 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, to Nelly (b. 1937) and Rustam Kaseev (1929-97), two celebrated bear trainers. Before working with bears, Rustam had been one of the greatest acrobats of his generation: his hand-to-handAn acrobatic act in which one or more acrobats do hand-balancing in the hands of an under-stander. balancing act with Ruben Manasarian has become the stuff of legend in Russian circus lore.

Dania was trained by her father, who helped her develop a remarkable hula-hoop act (a specialty that had not seen much innovation until then) that combined Latin dancing, exceptional technique, unbridled energy, and above all, an irresistible personality. She debuted with her act at age 15 and was an immediate sensation. In 1988, she participated in the prestigious Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris and won a Gold Medal, the first and only time this highest honor was given to a hula-hoop act.

Dania subsequently participated in several international tours with the Moscow Circus, a privilege which, in the Soviet era, was reserved for the USSR's top circus artists. In 1990, she was featured in a successful U.S. tour with the Moscow Circus, and two years later, she made her debut as an independent performer with the Big Apple Circus in its production of Greetings From Coney Island.

Dania Kaseeva then settled in the United States and worked in various shows, including the Royal Hanneford Circus, where she met her husband, David Maas, a singing Ringmaster. Together they developed a mesmerizing quick-change magic act, David and Dania, which they debuted in 1996. They have since performed it all over the world, in circuses, nightclubs, corporate events, and on cruise ships. Dania still occasionally performs her energetic hula-hoop act.

See Also