This post was written by my husband, a UniverSoul Circus enthusiast.
Let’s get something out of the way about the UniverSoul Circus. If you don’t think you can clap along to hip hop and old school R&B (not even to Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day”), you might not like it when the ringmaster and his clowns bring the house down with an impromptu hip-hop dance-off. UniverSoul Circus is a circus that takes unabashed pride its uniqueness as a circus where most of the performers are African American, Caribbean, or African, and most of the cheering, laughing, gasping-in-amazement audience is also black. But like so many aspects of race in America, when the lights go down and the show starts, the surface differences disappear.
And once it starts, what a show!
UniverSoul opens with an exuberant troupe of West Indian dancers, stilt walkers, and flaming limbo dancers (it’s the impossibly low limbo poles that are on fire, not the dancers). They set the mood for the rest of the show: a carnival of amazement, wonder, and a celebration of music, family, and fun.
Some acts are so nerve-wracking that they’re best watched holding tight a loved one: inside a giant rotating steel tower, a pair of stuntmen from Peru and Guinea jump, flip, and free-fall, and with each trick, it seems certain they will fall to their doom. Then, four contortionists from West Africa, known as the “Bone Breakers” twist and turn their arms, legs, torsos and necks in ways that seem impossible to survive. A foursome of motocross bikers zoom over a ramp and sail high over the circus ring before landing on a ramp on the far side of the big top.
Other acts are simply awe-inspiring. The show concludes with a pair of elephants, an Asian elephant (who offers rides to kids in the audience before the show and during intermission) and an African elephant who seems too impossibly huge to be performing his pachyderm acrobatics. While the elephant act isn’t likely to please many animal activists, their inclusion is another way that UniverSoul Circus is so unique. The Ringling Bros. circus, for example, phased out its elephant act in 2016 before going defunct entirely earlier this year.
Ultimately, UniverSoul Circus provides wonderful family-oriented fun with a unique style that promises to amaze and entertain everyone lucky enough to attend.
UniverSoul Circus is in town at FedEx Field until July 23rd. Get your tickets here. Ticket prices range from $16 through $40. Don’t miss it!
Know Before You Go:
- Event parking at FedEx Field — 1600 FedEx Way Landover, MD 20785 — is $10 cash for cars, $20 for a school bus, and $50 for a coach bus.
- Concessions are about $6 & up for food, and $4 & up for non-alcoholic drinks.
- Infants 11 months and younger are free but MUST sit on adult’s lap. Everyone 12 months & older MUST have a ticket
- Stadium style seating means no one has a “bad” seat.
- The show itself was approximately 2.5 hours in length, but with parking and exiting, I’d estimate about 3 hours + for the event.
- Accessible seating and parking spots (but you must still pay the $10) are available.
My family received a set number of complimentary tickets, but we also purchased tickets to take friends. No monetary compensation was exchanged. All opinions are our own.