A Sure Sign of Spring: The Circus Has Come to Town
By: Ellis Nassour
Spring is here! At least, they keep telling us that. For years, the surest sign of Spring was the circus coming to town. It’s true again! The 2016 “East” multicultural/multinational UniverSoul Circus has pitched its colorful tent and European-style one-ring show to play the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and crossing the Hudson in Newark through May 30.
UniverSoul is now an interactive and entertaining “spectacle of global proportions, taking fans of all ages on an unforgettable journey of light, sound and soul.”
In the intimate, weather-controlled Big Top, where no seat is a bad one, daredevil acrobats flying through the air and doing extreme motorsports, a kennel of wild ‘n wooly canines, dancing elephants, and exotic dancers will be at the ready to entertain you.
“UniverSoul Circus celebrates cultures from around the world,” says founder and CEO Cedric Walker, “and has the unique purpose of bringing people of all ages and all ethnic groups together under the big top. This is a time in our history where we need to come together, to embrace and learn from each other.”
Walker spends a great part of the year circling the globe to find incredible acts to delight children of all ages. Leading the charge this season as ringmaster is Johannesburg, South Africa’s 27-year-old, multi-talented Lucky Malatsi, who’s been performing since he was four as a contortionist, acrobatic hip hop dancer, trapeze and trampoline artist, teeterboard flyer, and whiz kid with basketballs. Working alongside Malatsi is UniverCircus favorite, the U.S.’s Zeke the Sidekick.
Among the memorable and exciting acts from right here in the U.S. are airborne motorcycles, veteran animal trainer Larry Carden’s dancing elephants, featuring the largest (six tons) performing male elephant in the world; Detroit hip-hop quartet Fresh the Clownsss; and the Olate family’s super canine act of rescued dogs – the winner of the million-dollar prize in 2012 on TV’s America’s Got Talent.
In the “electrifying, edge-of-your-seat” department are the seven-strong Guinness World Record holding African Dream Team and their jaw dropping slipping and sliding antics on the 30-foot high, swaying pole; an aerial duo from Colombia; a trio of Ethiopian hand-balancers making their North American debut; a troupe of eight Chinese acrobats on bicycle; a Russian bar [gymnastic on a flexible beam] from Cuba; Trinidad and Tobago’s Shanika Callender and Jamal Walker’s lavishly and colorfully-costumed Caribbean Dance and Limbo ensemble; and slapstick comedy and more from Sifiso.
UniverSoul Circus performance schedule [with multiple performances weekends]:
March 30 – April 10: 50 East. 150th Street – across from Bronx Terminal Market [Off the Major Deegan Expressway/I-85]
April 12 – 24: 3159 Flatbush Avenue/Floyd Bennett Field @ Aviator Sports [Near. Kings Plaza Mall]
April 27 – May 15: Roy Wilkins Park, Merrick and Baisley Boulevards, Jamaica
May 18 – 30: 430 Broad Street, across from Broad Street train terminal [next to the Riverfront Bears Stadium]
UniverSoul Circus tickets are $16-$40 and available on site and through Ticketmaster.com or (800) 745-3000 [where service fees apply]. For show schedules, interactive international artist map, parking availability, video, artist bios, and more information, visit www.universoulcircus.com.