The international flavor of the UniverSoul Circus includes acts such as an exhibition of Shaolin martial arts.
(Scott Cunningham photo courtesy of UniverSoul)
By Lawrence Specker
on March 01, 2013
MOBILE, Alabama – It might be shaping up to be a chilly weekend in Mobile, but it sounds like it’s going to be hot under the big top of the UniverSoul Circus, which has set up its tent on the grounds of Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
The theme of the show is “Mash It Up,” and UniverSoul President Cedric Walker has said that it’s inspired by the fact that “it fuses a special blend of cultures, music and styles with world class acts from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas to create an unforgettable entertainment experience for the entire family.”
The performer known as “N.O.,” a member of the circus’ improv troupe who also serves as co-host, said the theme also refers to a take-no-prisoners approach.
“That means that we have put together a crew this year that is dedicated to giving high energy,” he said. “It will be definitely an experience to remember. It will be a lot of fun, a lot of energy, a lot of yelling and screaming and dancing, jaw-dropping from top to bottom.”
“We’re leaving nothing behind,” N.O. said.
UniverSoul was founded nearly 20 years ago as a showcase for black talent, designed primarily to entertain and inspire African-American audiences. But over the years, its lineup and audience have broadened. According to promotional materials, current circus acts have their roots in the USA, the Ivory Coast, Cuba, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Trinidad and Tobago, France and China.
As co-host Zanda “Zeke” Charles said in a 2012 NPR interview, “soul is not a color.”