The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Soul in the city

It’s a good thing that Cedric Walker, founder of theUniverSoul Big Top Circus, didn’t listen to his critics orelse his “dream circus” would not be celebrating its10-year anniversary in 2003.

Walker’s collection of dancers, acrobats, contortionistsand animal trainers are an eclectic mix of talent from around theworld. It’s also touted as the first African-American ownedand operated circus in America in 112 years.

Most of the performers are people of color. Performers fromAfrica, the Caribbean and Asia bring their cultural flavor to theevent. Emphasizing that “soul” isn’t a color buta lifestyle, a Russian trio of acrobats also has a part in theshow.

The circus ended an 11-day run in Dallas on Sunday. Thefestivities took place in one ring under a big top tent at theWynnewood Village Shopping Center. Oak Cliff native, comedianShucky Ducky shared ringmaster duties with clown/singerMaybelle.

There was no one act that outshined the others. From the LimboQueen to the Twisted Sistas to the Gabonese low-wire performance to”Ribbon in the Sky,” every performance wasengaging.

After a 15-minute intermission, the Diamond Soul Divas enteredthe ring riding three elephants. Tyrone Taylor, the firstAfrican-American male elephant trainer, dazzled the crowd with hiselephants’ tricks. He even got two of them to stand on apedestal and do a little shuffle with their feet. The ladies stayedmounted on the elephants during the performance, adding an extravisual element in their red-plumed costumes.

Another great aspect of the show was the interaction with thecrowd. Two audience members tried to ride a plucky donkey for a$300 prize, 15 participants came to dance down the Soul Train line,five giant Balzacs were tossed around the crowd, and Shucky Duckyoften engaged the crowd in call-and-response chants.

The evening of family entertainment ended with a stirringperformance of the gospel song “We Fall Down,”performed by Maybelle after she shed her clown suit.

“Soul in the City 2003” marked the fifth year theUniverSoul circus has toured to Dallas. Sen. Royce West made anappearance at the Sept. 20 performance and presented the circuswith an official promise, endorsed by the state of Texas, that theywould be able to return to the city for years to come.

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