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Queens Chronicle

More than clowns and elephants, this circus has soul

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Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014 10:30 am

It’s circus season in Queens and while trapeze artists swing to and fro under the big tops, UniverSoul Circus has a little more to offer.

The show is one of the country’s only all-minority circuses.

From the very beginning when Sifiso the clown, from Johannesburg, South Africa, steps out with his whistle, asking the crowd to clap along with him, it’s clear the UniverSoul Circus is unlike any other.

“You know what they say, you can’t have new school without old school,” Daniel “Lucky” Malatsi, the host of the UniverSoul Circus, shouted with the audience.

That’s right, there is no traditional ringmaster wearing a red-sequined jacket and black top hat. Lucky brings his own swag to the show.

The host’s philosophy — blending the new school with the old school — was prevalent throughout the show on Mother’s Day.

UniverSoul Circus takes the classic circus acts and sights — elephants, tightrope walkers and acrobats — and puts a twist on them.

For example, the Willy Family Highwire Act from Colombia was a typical tightrope performance until one walker performed a routine to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” while wearing the King of Pop’s signature glittery glove and jet-black fedora.

The entire show was a party and the crowd loved every minute of it.

While each act had a moment that completely captured the attention of the audience — the Zhenjiang Acrobatic Troupe from China performed stunts that did not seem to be humanly possible — Sifiso stole the show.

Unlike most clowns, Sifiso does not wear makeup; instead he relies on his physical humor and quick improvisation to entertain the crowd.

Communicating only with a whistle, Sifiso makes the cheesiness one might associate with clowns completely disappear and all that’s left is a hilarious performance that leaves the audience howling with laughter.

The removal of all things cheesy is what makes the UniverSoul Circus so great. The performers take out the excess to find their identity and put on a truly original and amazing show that communicates with people of all ages, races and creeds.

UniverSoul Circus
When: May 15-18, times vary
Where: Roy Wilkins Park, 177th St.& Baisley Blvd., Jamaica
-ickets: $23.35 and up, universoulcircus.com

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