Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hip + Urban Girls of the Week: The DeAngelis Sisters

Ever dream of running away and joining the circus?  How about founding your own circus company and performing aerial work, on silks, with a hoop or acrobatic stunts - while hanging upside down from the ceiling?  Pretty damn awesome we thought and that's exactly what The DeAngelis Sisters - Julie, Elisa and Samantha achieved though their award-winning company A2D2.  We are thrilled to be featuring all three of them as our Hip + Urban Girls of the Week!

How did you get into aerial circus work and when did you start?
All three of us have extensive backgrounds in competitive dance (ballet, tap, jazz and acro), teaching and of course, circus. In 2008, A2D2 Inc ~ Aerial Dance Circus Company was founded. A2D2 has since provided customized entertainment packages for a multitude of themed events incorporating live music merged with dynamic cirque. In this short time span, “Cirque-tacular” was created ~ a beautiful full-scale cirque production which debuts on an annual basis as a fund raising gala dedicated to raising money for people living with spinal cord injuries.

What is your typical day like?
All three of us start the day with an early morning workout, then we head into the studio for office work and appointments (a few times a week we travel out for site inspections and client meetings), the afternoons are taken up by in-studio aerial training. The evenings consist of teaching/coaching and miscellaneous computer work. On event days we spend the entire day loading-in and setting up our event and the performance execution normally takes place in the evening.

What are some of the disadvantages of your job, that maybe we don't think about?
Being entrepreneurs is inherently challenging as we work long hours and have little down time. 

How hard is it to set up a space so that you can perform a silk piece from it?
There are many steps to ensuring proper set-up for safe aerial act execution. Normally we conduct a thorough site inspection of the venue with our Head Rigger who is an expert in LIVE LOAD Rigging /HUMAN LOAD Rigging. When we arrive at the venue we assess the feasibility of aerial performance by looking at the rigging points, ceiling height, point-ratings and ceiling plan for the event (among many other things). Certain venues vary in difficulty when it comes to aerial installations and are evaluated on an individual basis. Sometimes it is very easy to perform a rig and other times it is extremely challenging. The end goal is to create a safe set-up for our artist’s performances.

What's harder?  Silks or hoop and why?
The various circus apparatus’ are difficult in different ways. Aerial Silks presents different challenges then say aerial trapeze, or aerial hoop, or aerial rope, or aerial staps etc. Each apparatus requires a completely different skill set and individual training. Therefore we would say that there is no “harder” apparatus – all are challenging in different ways.


What type of events do you get hired for?
A2D2 is hired for a variety of events including: Corporate functions, Meetings, Private Events, Fundraisers, Weddings, Bat/Bar Mitzvahs, and Theme Park Programming.


Tell us about the craziest party you have ever done!
A2D2 had the opportunity to provide in exccess of 30 performers and crew for a private party which happened in Toronto a few months ago. Here is a sneak peek: http://www.a2d2.ca/content/bar-bat-mitzvahs

A2D2 also had the tremendous opportunity to provide entertainment for one of our Founder’s (Elisa’s) recent Circus Wedding. Check it out here: http://www.a2d2.ca/content/wedding-entertainment

How would someone go about getting into aerial performance if they were interested in doing this?
They can take classes with us at our studio Cirque Centre C2. We highly recommend circus training for people who come from a background in dance, gymnastics, diving, or similar disciplines prior to taking up a new apparatus. Otherwise, general strength conditioning is a great start.

What did you study in University/College?  Would you have done anything differently?
All three of us have very different educational backgrounds including - formal training in journalism, film, aerial arts and business administration though various institutions (Humber College, Montreal’s National Circus School, Youth Employment Services, the University of Toronto and others).

We all feel very fortunate to have pursued our various educational paths. Our formal training has given us the skill sets to run our own business and be better business owners because of our different backgrounds.


Where are your favourite places to hang out in Toronto? 
We have a few places we regularly visit like Starbucks and Booster Juice and various sushi restaurants (always a hit with these sisters).

Best places to shop in the city?
Lululemon, Costa Blanca, Planet Organic are our mutual favourites

Tell us about your neighbourhood and what you like best about it.
Our studio is located down the street from our childhood neighbourhood so the community is near and dear to our hearts. The best part about the neighbourhood is that our parents are close by (Bob and Joni DeAngelis of DeAngelis Entertainment aka best parents ever!). 


Where would you go on your dream vacation?
Julie – A tour around Scandinavia with a stop in Moscow to see a ballet performance at the famous Bolshoi Theatre
Elisa – Australia 
Samantha – Hawaii – on the beach with a strawberry daiquiri

What would you tell your 20 year-old self?
“Don’t worry – everything is going to be fine!”

What life advice do you have for hip + urban girls out there trying to figure out what they want to do?
Always follow your dreams and don’t give up! Don’t be afraid to carve your own path – it won’t be easy in the beginning but it will be worth it in the end.

Find out more:
Website - www.a2d2.ca
Facebook - A2D2 Cirque Page
Twitter - @A2D2circus

Loved this?  Meet some more inspiring women who have been our Hip + Urban Girl of the Week.

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