Quick Change

Quick Change Halftime Act was at the forefront of the era of showcase halftimes in the NBA… and they are still going strong.

David and Dania have been wowing audiences for years as the act Quick Change. This month on Gameops.com we share an interview between David Maas and Jeremy Bradley from SpeakFree Media Inc.

David and Dania have been wowing audiences for years as the act Quick Change.  You saw them on “America’s Got Talent” with their rapid costume change act.  The duo is still in high demand for halftime shows across the country.

 

Jeremy Bradley –  David, most of the world knows you from America’s Got Talent.  You’ve been wowing audiences with your “Quick Change” act.  But you and Dania have been performing for quite a while.  How did you two get started?

David Maas – We both came from a background of entertainment.  My wife was originally from the Moscow State Circus and my father was a professional musician by trade and my mother, at one point, was a singer and dancer.  Throughout a number of years and being involved in magic and entertainment I was an emcee and quite prominent for a while, actually.  I emceed a lot of big events – comedy festivals and stuff like that.  Long story short, there was an event called the Eastern States Exposition which takes place every year for 17 days straight in Springfield, Massachusetts.  And they put on a variety show up there and the producer had brought in Dania for the very first time from the Moscow State Circus and she did an act with hula hoops.  She had won a gold medal in Paris and quite famous in her own right at the time.  And then she had come over for the very first time to America with the Moscow State Circus at the Taj Mahal with Donald Trump.  But immediately after that she was contracted to the Big Apple Circus in New York and I was the emcee for that show and that’s where we met.

Jeremy Bradley – What was your first act together?  Is it the “Quick Change” act?

David Maas – Yeah.  We met and Dania was single.  I was as well.  We decided that not only were we going out at the time but we wanted to do something.  And obviously something that could keep us together.  I had been involved in magic for nearly 15 years when I had met Dania.  So the idea started with one change of costume and then it eventually built into what you’re seeing now.  We wanted something that would really transcend the world of magic.  We wanted something that could be very international – no matter what language you speak, it doesn’t matter how old you are – it can be performed on a stage or completely in a round.  And that was one of our absolute keys to success is that we wanted to do something that could be done magically and completely surrounded.  That’s very, very rare in the entire world of magic.  Most magicians work on a stage and they are one-sided.  We decided upon this idea of colour changing costumes and eventually, one, as I was saying earlier, progressed into several and several and then of course, became many.  In the beginning we involved a lot of magic.

We wanted to be able to work on a variety stage.  We wanted to be able to work in the circus.  We wanted to be able to work in a casino in a revue.  The majority of the “wow” factor was really when we were doing the changing costumes.  Everybody just kind of went crazy when that happened and we said, “You know what, we should eliminate the majority of the magic and really, really just concentrate on change of costume and eventually that’s what’s happened now.  And I think I should stress this too, we wanted to do something that made us very equal on the stage.  That’s extremely important to what we do now and you can tell somebody this,  but you don’t really know it you feel it subconsciously, but it wasn’t a magician working on the stage with an assistant.  We are very equal.  So we went to high level world champion ballroom teachers and we wanted to be very, very equal on the stage.  And I think we’ve accomplished that.”

Jeremy Bradley – Oh absolutely.

David Maas – So when you watch us, you watch us together.  Of course your eyes are glued on my wife and you want to know how she’s changing that dress but at no time ever in over 10 years now that we’ve done this act has anybody ever left and said, “Hey, that magician and his assistant were pretty good.”

Jeremy Bradley – Right.

David Maas – They just want to know, “How in the world did that lady change into that dress?”

Jeremy Bradley – Now, I’m sure you’ve been asked that many times.  And you know, it’s in no disrespect, but I don’t want to know how you do it.  It would take the fun out of watching, you know?

David Maas – We’ve had a lot of people say that very same thing.  I think that’s the intelligent response, Jeremy, I really do.  And it is fun that way.  It’s kind of hard for me to say that because I’m the one who’s doing this act, but that’s absolutely right.  When I watch a great magician, guys that I idolized over the years growing up, it was the same way.  Of course I was very curious to find out how a specific effect was done.  But on the other hand I would sit back and never in a million years would I sit in conversation with one of these guys and say, “Hey, you know what, you’ve gotta give me the inside of this and that.”  You appreciate it for what it is.  But of course you get the crazies out there that’ll sit there adamantly and send e-mail after e-mail.  We’ve had some very big names, who I’d prefer not to mention, but some very high level magicians from around the world that have asked to buy our rights.  And we’ve put a patent on the effect because it’s been so successful for us.  We have a copyright on the act and we have a trademark under two names.

Read this 2006 Story from Slate.com on how the act led change in the NBA.

Jeremy Bradley – So has anyone figured you out?

David Maas – Well, you know to answer that question, Jeremy, the idea of transformation was not our idea.  I’d like to say in this conversation with you that I was the genius that invented this and that it’s never ever been done but that’s not the case.  You can date the idea of transformation of costumes back hundreds of years and maybe even more.  There have been acts that we’ve studied through the years.  I don’t think to this day, and I’m pretty much the expert on this, anybody has ever taken it close to the level of speed and the amounts we can do.  In fact, we can do it right in front of you, completely surrounded, and you can watch it in big basketball arenas, you know we’re one of the official acts of NBA Halftime.  Whether you’re 20,000 people in the arena or 300 people in the theatre you can watch it and it’s still pretty amazing to watch us work that way.

Jeremy Bradley – It does seem like quite a physically demanding routine.  You said there’s quite a lot that goes into it.  You two almost look like you’re out of breath sometimes by the end of it.

David Maas – Absolutely.  Because you have to realize that we have just chosen a method through the years that’s done with a lot of speed, you know what I mean?

Jeremy Bradley – Yes.

David Maas – And when you see the full-length version, we’re working on a 40-minute segment, and there’s a lot more magic involved in that.  But she comes on the stage three different times and eventually when you’re coming back that many times and there’s ballroom dance involved and we’ve just chosen a very high tempo to work at.  It just seems to be us.  For sure, my God, it becomes exhausting.  Those costumes on like that, it becomes really hot, you get very tired.

Jeremy Bradley – It just seems so much fun too.  Dania’s always got a huge smile on her face.  And I think that’s probably what gets to audience so involved is that we’re seeing two people who genuinely are having fun.

MTV Story: Katy Perry was inspired by the duo, and they helped produce her fast concert changes.

David Maas – As a professional, that’s your job.  And I’ll tell you, it’s never been difficult for us to smile at what we do.  We’ve been fortunate enough to be so successful in the last 10 years.  God blessed us in that way.  If you went to work every day of your life and you were just so happy at what you did and somebody is telling you how terrific it was and what a pleasure it was to bring their kids and families and read the e-mails it’s kind of easy to smile when you’re in that type of position.

Jeremy Bradley – [You appeared on America’s Got Talent.  Were you happy with the experience?]

David Maas – After all, I have to say, thank goodness that we did (the show).  A lot of great things have happened since the show.  We walk into airports and people give us tremendous compliments.  But we’re off and running onto bigger things!  As I told you before we are one the official acts of the NBA Halftime and we’re one of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and have been for many years.  As I told you before (the interview) we should be on The Oprah Winfrey Show on December 13.  On the fourth of December we’re doing the Royal Variety performance in London, England.  Goodness, it goes on and on and on.  Over Thanksgiving we’re going to be in Spain.  At Christmastime we’re going to go back in London.  A lot of great stuff is coming our way.

Jeremy Bradley –  For something like the England presentation (you’d mentioned to me that it is for royalty), do you get nervous before you go out there for something like that?

David Maas – For an event like that, and in most cases we’re doing an NBA event that we’ve done a million times, but an event like that, it’s being televised for the BBC and any little mistake is right on the camera.  And goodness, (an event like that) it doesn’t get any bigger than that, does it?

Jeremy Bradley – No.  And it’s got to be quite an honour to get invited to things like that.

David Maas – You’ve got to be out there.  You’ve got to be at it.  It’s been a long, long process, it’s not like we just started yesterday.  A lot of years, a lot of airplanes you give up a lot.

Jeremy Bradley –  In the act there is obviously a lot of interaction between the two of you because you’re a team performing, but it doesn’t really seem like there’s much communication in terms of speaking.  How do you stay in sync when your routine is so fast paced?

David Maas – Once again, I hope that goes back to what I was telling you in the beginning, that we needed to work as two people together.  We did accomplish that.  And the answer to the second part of that question is that, when we’re doing this routine, and we’ve done it so many times it’s like clockwork.  Every piece of music, every beat, every count of music from beginning to end, we know exactly where every foot, where every step, where every motion, where every gesture we know where we’re at, at all times, because we’ve done it so many times.  It just becomes like clockwork.  Like a dancer that’s done a routine 4000 times, he’s obviously going to know where he is.  There (are) times when we go out there and we improvise, but it just becomes natural after you’ve done it for so long.  But there are times when it happens.  We’re not perfect, we are human beings.  But for the most part, it’s how it happens.  That’s how we describe it, just like a clock, we just tick along.

Contact Info:

David Maas
312.446.7853
david@costumechange.com

Thanks to Jeremy Bradley from SpeakFree Media Inc for sharing this interview.

Jeremy Bradley is a sassy Canadian writer who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.  An accomplished reporter and outspoken columnist, Jeremy Bradley offers a unique writing style to newspapers and websites.  And now his humour can be heard every day on the radio.

Currently a syndicated editorial columnist in community newspapers, website columnist and appearing as a guest editorial writer in publications across Canada, Bradley offers a refreshing point of view not often considered by most readers.

Much of Bradley’s success is attributed to the widely-popular SpeakFreewithJB website that has welcomed visitors from around the globe to participate and express opinions on what is happening in the world.

JB’s Interview is also available SpeakFreeCelebrityWatch along with his interviews with Jeff Foxworthy, Jerry Springer, John Salley and more.

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