Grounded with Delia Ceruti
Hi, I’m Delia Ceruti, I identify as a woman and … I am very shy talking about myself and my career: I would rather do a movement improvisation about it, but I love challenges, Lindsey, and the idea of this blog. So, here you go:
I am an Italian artist, mostly an aerial mover and sometimes photographer, based in the UK although currently (well, it’s been nearly 7 months now), I’m living in a secret place in my van with an aerial rig. My address in the UK is actually a mailbox until I figure out what to do with my life.
Covid, Brexit, and the sudden sickness and death of my father a few days ago shook my life and career. The secret place is actually a warehouse in Italy (Bergamo), where I returned this summer to be close to him and to my family.
What was your pathway into the professional field of aerial?
When I was 6 years old, I made an official announcement to my mum that I was going to become a dancer. Not taken too seriously, I was anyways allowed to start studying ballet in a local school and continued with a Russian teacher from the Bolshoi theatre, Svetlana Pavlova, who trained me to become a professional. Which, I did briefly, but when I was 21 I fell out of love with ballet. I also struggled with eating disorders, and decided to quit.
I got a business degree in the UK, decided to remain, and went into some business jobs. I was 28, fairly successful at what I was doing, surely had more money, but it wasn’t a life that was making me happy. I missed the stage, I missed moving. Photography was giving me some joy but my soul was craving the stage.
Ballet being ruled out, I accidentally (or not?) saw a silks performance, and decided that it was what I wanted to do next with my life.
I joined a full time 3 months circus course in Sheffield at Greentop Circus
Inspired by Claire Crook, I fell in love with rope. And clowning.
I do fall in love pretty fast.
I was quite bad at aerial, mostly I was very upper-body weak, but I’m stubborn, and felt that it was my path, so I continued training in Sheffield, then moved to London to take private classes, and train with other people who then became colleagues, friends, and family.
Whilst being half a camel on stilts in AbuDhabi with the Generating Company for three months, I met Guillaume Blais who did become my other half in a trapeze duo, Duo D&G (yes, poor name choice, I know), which lasted for 4 years. A great professional relationship and friendship which has enriched me as an artist, as an acrobat, and as a human. We eventually decided to split up (bit of drama there) and I continued solo.
My research and practice interest grew towards the combination of aerial with movement and clowning. Rope stayed as my main discipline but I did train and perform also dance trapeze, silks, multi-corde, hoop, and straps in various companies and festivals in the UK and abroad.
Two years ago, since I was curious about it, a friend – Sergio Zollensky – showed me how to do my hair, for hair suspension.
I fell in love with that too. I got hooked by the strength of the dramaturgical potential of the discipline, and the infinite possibilities created by the limitation of being rigged from your head.
I also enjoyed how I self-trained my mind to cope with the physical pain of this art, and eventually started to enjoy the sensation which brings me to a sort of meditative state.
So I did, and continue to do, a lot of research on it…
I got noticed by Cirque du Soleil when I performed my solo pro-women hair suspension piece Jasmani at the Berlin Circus Festival in 2019 and signed a contract with them, which didn’t last long due to the pandemics and their bankruptcy.
I actually only performed with them for 3 weeks after a two months creation of my act in Montreal. A short but very enjoyable experience, where I met some great people. It’s probably also the only money that will go on my tax return this year.
Meanwhile, during those lockdowns, I started the creation of my first solo show “traSh” on fast fashion where my hair plays a big part.
Here’s a temporary sneaky peak (is that the expression?):traSh
Wow, am I still writing?
Any specific learning from the year we’ve just had?
I actually enjoyed having time and space to train and research without the pressure of doing it “for a reason”. Forever grateful to Victoria Works who hosted me during lockdown number 1.
This year made me start to appreciate more every single little thing that I have in my life. And focus more on what I have and what I can do, rather than on what I don’t have or can’t do.
And to find opportunities and new ideas within it.
The loss of my dad has hit me quite hard. I’m still processing it. His energy keeps me strong though.
What lessons have you learnt through your career?
It’s never too late.
Create something new every day.
Be interested, don’t try to be interesting.
Stay unique. Different is good.
What advice would you give to your younger self? Your advice to someone just starting out now.
Dear younger Delia, Dear someone starting out now:
Don’t be too hard on yourself, accept compliments if and when they come, stay faithful to yourself and don’t try to imitate others, remember to take some good rest and, at whichever age, it’s never, never, never too late.
I’ve said that already, but I like to repeat it.
Also don’t take any job just because it’s scary to say “no”: be more selective and follow what your heart tells you.
You can find out more about Delia here: