Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Universal Appeal 

The UniverSoul Circus redefines big-top entertainment

Suffering from post-big-top withdrawal after last month's come-and-gone run of Circus Flora at Grand Center? Get ready for another circus-spectacle high as the UniverSoul Circus trots into town with its "Soul in the City 2004" tour.

The Atlanta-based traveling show, now more than a decade old, holds the distinction of being the first African-American owned-and-operated circus in this country in more than 110 years. Combining the music, dance and pageantry of African, Caribbean, South American and African-American cultures, the circus' roster of thirteen multiethnic, multitalented performing acts includes: Caribbean Flava, a showgirls-on-stilts troupe from Trinidad and Tobago; the Twisted Sistas, a contortionist quartet with roots in both Mongolia and South Africa; the Willy Family, who hail from Colombia and dance the salsa on a high wire; acrobatic hip-hop dance team Lucky and Country; the Cossacks, which are "thundering horses" from Russia; and the not-at-all-scary-sounding Wheel of Death, a "giant wheel balancing act" whose members hail from Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

Emceeing all of these unbelievable-sounding acts during the two-hour show is a coed pair of ringmasters. Shuckie Duckie, a standup comic in a previous life, here plays the Ricky Ricardo-like straight man to his female counterpart, Mabelle, the loopy Lucille Ball-like character. Says circus spokesman Hank Ernest: "She is like an escaped mental patient who finds her way to the circus."

Even with such highfalutin hijinks, UniverSoul still aims to be the circus that cares; the show is known for peppering its between-act patter with kid-friendly messages promoting peace, love and understanding -- so now we finally know what's so funny about all that.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Latest in Night & Day

More by Rose Martelli

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 15th, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation