BY NATALIA KOZIKOWSKA
Some 20 years ago, Cedrick Walker, a rap festival and gospel play promoter, noticed a disconnect between parents and their children. Using his experience in the entertainment industry, he dreamt of bringing families together under the same roof – ‘the big top.’
“He [Walker] was noticing that kids were going in one direction and parents were going in another direction,” said Hank Ernest, a spokesperson at UniverSoul Circus. “He wanted whole families to be able to get together to go out and enjoy family entertainment.”
UniverSoul Circus has come a long way since its first show in 1994. What started as a stationed variety show in Atlanta, Ga., has since expanded to performances across the globe.
Today, UniverSoul Circus has presented more than 10,000 performances to live audiences, exceeding 19 million people, and has been seen in more than 60 million households on both local and national networks. And after seeing the show this past weekend at Roy Wilkins Park in Jamaica, its rise to fame comes as no surprise.
UniverSoul currently uses about 75 performers and features 12 remarkable and unique acts. From acrobatics to high-wire acts, to trapeze artists to magic – each of the circus’ segments left audience members in awe, and many times, in disbelief.
While each of the acts were impressive in their own right, two stand-out performances truly left their mark. The Wuhan Flying Trapeze segment tops my list as one of the most captivating parts of the show, featuring a number of daring aerial tricks while using the momentum of a swing. The dynamic and fluid movement of the trapeze performers was not only artistic, it also demonstrated a high level of skill, requiring all of the artists to master timing.
Equally as breathtaking was the circus’ magic segment performed by the Soul Illusion. Their act, which featured drastic costume changes in mere seconds and magically transforming harnessed cages of women to cages with tigers, left the audience bewildered, asking themselves one thing – how is this humanly possible?
But in addition to their stellar acts, UniverSoul Circus stands out for two other reasons. The first of which, UniverSoul is a highly-interactive show and its staff is committed to getting the audience involved. Whether it is pulling members out from the crowd to the middle of the ring or getting into the crowd and dancing with the entire family, UniverSoul really had a way of bringing people to their feet.
Another element that truly set UniverSoul apart from other circuses was its hip and modern feel. Rather than the standard, tacky circus music you would normally hear at such a show, UniverSoul’s acts were complemented by timely relevant songs by artists such as Rihanna, to urban classics by Michael Jackson and Aretha Franklin.
UniverSoul Circus will be at Roy Wilkins Park until May 18. Tickets start at $16. For tickets and show times, visit www.ticketmaster.com/Roy-Wilkins-Park-at-Merrick-Blvd-tickets-Jamaica/venue/959.
Reach Natalia Kozikowska at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org or