UniverSoul Circus returns to Brooklyn

A circus with plenty of soul and several acts that also makes the audience part of the act, UniverSoul Circus — founded 23 years ago in Atlanta — continues to bring families together and amaze with its diverse performers, stunts, and animals around the world. And, this month, it’s bringing the show back to Brooklyn.

The 27-year-old ringmaster, Lucky Malatsi of Johannesburg, South Africa, has been a part of the show since he was just nine years old, and understands what makes UniverSoul stand out from several other circus acts, emphasizing the importance of family.

“It’s hard to get families to enjoy each other’s company with social media and technology, but here you come for two and a half hours and forget all that. Everyone is glued to the action,” he said. “Everyone is laughing, dancing and singing together. At the end, I always remind kids to thank their parents.”

The crowd interaction also make the production unique. “We have lots of music and dance because everyone could get along with dance,” Malatsi said. “Everyone loves great music. This year, we took it to whole new level. It’s interactive. You’re the star. We have you dance in a Soul Train line and throw beach balls for the kids.”

Photos courtesy of UniverSoul Circus
Photos courtesy of UniverSoul Circus

Every year, UniverSoul mixes up its show with new stunts and diverse performances. This time, the lineup includes the Olate Dogs from Chile, Ethiopian Pole Act from Ethiopia, Aerial Duet from Colombia, Bicycle Tricks from China, Airborne Motorcycles from California, Caribbean Dance and Limbo from Trinidad and Tobago, a Russian Bar act from Cuba and dancing elephants from the United States.

“Everyone should experience different cultures from around the world. We make sure everyone does different things right in front of their eyes,” Malasti said, adding that the venue and switching up the lineup works to the show’s benefit. “The tent is so close, you feel everyone’s presence and the atmosphere is amazing. It’s why we want to switch everything up each year especially so that the audience is not seeing the same thing every year.”

Malasti is in just his third year as ringmaster, but has been a part of UniverSoul most of his life. “My family, especially my uncle, taught me everything I know. He was an acrobat. We performed on the streets in South Africa,” he said.

After performing in Germany and China, they returned to their roots when CEO and founder Cedric Walker discovered the talented youngster. Touring since the age of nine, Malasti has fallen in love with the production.

“It was very exciting. It was a different experience for someone at a young age,” he said, adding that he started as a trapeze performer and hip hop dancer as well as taking part in other acts. “I didn’t get to see the whole thing until opening night. It was amazing. I think that’s the main reason I stuck with it, the love I get to experience from the audience nationwide.”

With the production is in the middle of its 30-city tour, Malasti and company are excited to get back to Brooklyn. “It is definitely one of our favorite stops. We have special guests and newbies that come to the show and we also want families to keep coming back,” he said. “Brooklyn is one of our favorite stops around New York. It is the heart for us.”

UniverSoul Circus started the Brooklyn portion of the tour on Tuesday, April 12 and will run until Sunday, April 24 at Aviator Sports & Events Center, 3159 Flatbush Avenue. For times and tickets, visit www.universoulcircus.com.

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