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UniverSoul shows the meaning of love

International sensation spins music, theater and circus arts in Fairmount Park.
UniverSoul Circus comes to Philadelphia on Nov. 2. | Provided
UniverSoul Circus comes to Philadelphia on Nov. 2. Provided

The circus is coming to town! And it’s not Ringling or Cirque du Soleil this time around. UniverSoul Circus arrives in Philadelphia Thursday, Nov. 2, continuing its 24-year tradition of bringing fresh performances to the center stage. UniverSoul is a highly interactive combination of circus arts, theater, and music that spans pop, classic R&B, Latin, hip-hop, jazz and gospel. It embraces and celebrates the unique and familiar aspects of pop culture globally, bringing a cast of international performers. Lucky Malatsi, a multitalented entertainer from South Africa, leads the charge as ringmaster and promises a show that you’d only expect in your wildest dreams.

Malatsi, 27, is entering his 17th year with the company. Starting off as a contortionist and spending time on the circuit through Europe and Asia, he saw what made UniverSoul such a special show. He implores that one of the main ingredients is love. “Not only is it family, the whole process has a lot of love behind it,” he says in an interview. “It’s not a corporate show. [Other shows] don’t have that love that we have when we hit that stage. You can feel the love.”

Malatsi has to be onto something. UniverSoul Circus is rated as one of the top two circuses along with Cirque du Soleil. UniverSoul takes a fresh approach to family-friendly live entertainment, and it’s been one of Ticketmaster’s top ten most requested family events, along with other shows like Sesame Street Live, Disney on Ice and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

The thing about circus love is that it’s aware of what the audience already feels when they come to a show. “What’s kept it going is that we always stay in tune with whats going on in the community and out in the world,” Malatsi adds. “We always stay current. We leave you with a message. 17 years ago, it was current then, and we change it up every year.”

Malatsi can attest to the love and the daring of the show because he’s not just a ringmaster, he’s part of the show. “You’re going to see me in the wheel of death. I changed the game of being a ringmaster. I’m swagged out when I perform. I’m not just coming out performing for a few minutes. I have to keep my energy up and stay engaged. Anything can happen and you have to be ready. It’s a challenge, but I love a challenge.”

UniverSoul runs Nov. 2-26 at Fairmount Park, 52nd and Parkside Ave.

For more information on showtimes, tickets and performances, visit universoulcircus.com.