Love for Life: David and Dania Maas

Russian born Dania Kaseeva Maas was not destined to marry the boy next door.

A second generation circus performer, Dania had made her way to the U.S. and was performing her award-winning hula-hoop act with The Big Apple Circus in 1991 when a singing ringmaster, David Maas, captured her attention. In her strong Russian accent she confides that the first time she saw him she felt, “There is nothing this man can’t do.” Her head lilts as she smiles from the corner of her eyes, like a shy school girl caught passing love notes.

The now world famous quick-change act they created was born of their desire for permanence between them. “We knew that if we didn’t work as a team, we’d always be traveling away from one another,” David explains. So they wove their talents into a show like no other. “A Magical Transformation” is the trademarked name for the quick-change act that has brought them fame as “America’s Got Talent” contestants; NBA, NFL and NHL halftime performers; and most recently as trainers for Katy Perry, who they taught to change costumes mid-song, without leaving the stage.

Their home is a monument to all that they have created together; every room is flanked with photos of the couple with powerful leaders and celebrities from around the world. In Dubai, New York and Alabama—all within a week of our interview—the rigor of their schedule is daunting. Ask how they negotiate the challenges of working with a spouse and David responds, “Everything we built is about the two of us working together.”

This includes their two newest ventures, which came to fruition as they sought ways to spend more time in the home they’ve created in The Glen. The Laughing Chameleon is the dynamic variety club they opened in The Glen Town Center this December. The cabaret-style theater features live comedy, music and magic acts discovered by David and Dania as they traveled the globe. “We are bringing entertainers that have never been available to a Chicago audience before—mind-blowing entertainment,” David says, with contagious enthusiasm.

And tickets are already on sale for the couple’s nonprofit Windy City Circus, which debuts at Navy Pier from February 17 to 26. As befits their meeting, David and Dania seek to share the magic of the big top with all of Chicagoland.

Once again, lifetime entertainers David and Dania have found a way to astound the crowd with what they can build together.

For more information on David and Dania’s latest ventures visit laughingchameleon.com and windycitycircus.org