What circus do you know that is owned by us, features us and an international group of talent, deals with the issues of the day and is the perfect family show? Yes, you know it! UniverSoul Circus is Back! It is time to go out and have fun as a family. It is time to be amazed and astonished at the talent of these aerialists, acrobats on the high wire, Daredevil Motorcyclists, Teeterboard acrobats, skilled horseback riders, camel and dog acts.

From the time my youngest daughter and I arrived at Roy Wilkins Park at 177th St. and Baisley Boulevard in Queens and I saw the Big Top in the distance, I felt like I was coming home. Home to the sense of family and community that only the UniverSoul Circus brings. This is a circus that has been coming to New York for decades and it has always been a source of entertainment, amazement and Black pride. The message is to always encourage our youngsters that they are smart, beautiful, special and that they should believe in themselves. There’s always been a message of loving your family and God. Yes, this circus has always been glad to cross that line and I love it!

The show this year has two ringmasters Donald “N.O.” Long and Cheyenne-Rose Dailey, who are joined by a UniverSoul Circus original, the one, the only Sidekick Zeke! The circus was so happy to be back and performing in New York, N.O talked about the pandemic and those who were lost to it. It was a feeling of those that were under the Big Top were grateful and blessed to still be here. In one part of the show there was also a focus of “We Can’t Breathe” and a moving group of praise dancers performed as the names of those murdered by police were shown. As I said, this circus is never afraid to stand up for our people and take on the poignant issues of the time.

Now, of course one of the staples to this circus that I love the most is the “Soul Train Line,” four men and women—strangers are taken out of the audience and compete in a dance competition as couple, but in the end it’s the ladies against the men. And, you know we always win. I’m just saying. There’s also something else I love about this circus. It is full of call and response. You wait to hear N.O. say, “When I say Big Top, You Say Circus” and we all had so much fun duplicating the way he says it. Then of course there’s the audience competitions to see which of the three sides of the center ring is the loudest. My daughter’s favorite is when we all do “If you’re happy and you know it…” We get to clap, stomp and SCREAM! This circus always leave me excited and voiceless!

There’s just nothing like UniverSoul Circus and the feeling of inclusion that has always been a part of its make-up. You have the Caribbean dancers from Trinidad and Tobago, the Stilt Walkers and the limbo dancers, who will limbo under a stick set on fire. You have performers from Colombia and Teeterboard acrobats from Mongola. There are camel acts from Russia and performers from Gabon, Guinea, Mexico, Kyrgzstan, Brazil, Santiago, Chile, Bakersfield, CA, Cuba and South Africa.

It had our hearts racing as the Daredevil Motorcyclists came zooming and flying high into the tent, twisting and flips in mid-air over our heads. There were two performers on two large steel wheels. They ran inside the wheels as they spun around and on the outside of the wheel. One man even jumped rope while on the outside of the spinning wheel. It was so thrilling to watch. There was such a graceful delivery by the Teeterboard performers from Mongola. You could tell watching them that they were part of a well-trained machine. Their attributes are precision, delicacy and beauty!

This is a show you don’t want to miss! The circus will only play at Roy Wilkins through October 11, but please be aware that COVID protocols that are in place. Anyone 12 or older must provide proof of at least the first vaccine and masks must be worn by everyone at all times except when eating and drinking.