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Hip Hop Under the Big Top: UniverSoul Circus at Black Expo

The UniverSoul Circus melds traditional circus acts with the flair of hip hop and African American culture. This unique circus consists entirely of black performers and harkens back to the old school days of vaudeville with a splash of hip hop musical. The UniverSoul Circus rolls into Lafayette Square Mall July 15 to 17 with multiple shows each day as part of the 2011 Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration. This unique circus experience showcases a wide spectrum of talent and skills from black performers. Tickets to this Indianapolis event range from $12 to $27. Indianapolis kids under one are admitted for free.

In 1994 Cedric Walker was hit with a big idea: to create a show that presented black talent to a diverse demographic of spectators. Walker hoped that his African American circus would impact national and perhaps global culture by offering a live experience through a different lens. With singing, dancing, traditional circus acts and animal acts, Walker wouldhis UniverSoul Circus on the road and around the world. But first, he had some research to do.
Walker delved into African American history, digging up information on early black entertainment from the turn of the century to the modern world. He stumbled upon information about black circuses that traveled the country around 1893, and envisioned his dream coming together. With a mix of vaudeville and hip hop and animal acts to boot, Walker created an event people can anticipate. With news of the historic black circus under his hat, Walker committed himself to a full-blown big top circus.

His research continued, and as the universe would have it, he ran into a Black Expo booth called “Of Blacks and Circus Rings.” The booth operator shared with him historic photographs, artifacts, videos and in depth knowledge about the contributions made by black performers to the circus industry.
Seventeen years later, UniverSoul Circus has crossed the United States and traveled the globe.  Based in Atlanta, the circus employs 75 performers for twelve acts including clowns, trapeze, motorcycle, daredevils, break dancing, acrobats, bicycle daredevils, magical illusions, dogs, lions, tigers, elephants, stilt walkers, Caribbean Limbo Dancers and more. Performers in this troupe hail from all over the world including Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Columbia, Dominican Republic, China, Cuba, Russia and Brazil.

Don’t miss “the Awesomest Show Ever” as the UniverSoul Circus hits Indianapolis this week. Head to Lafayette Square Mall near Indianapolis downtown to marvel at the sights in this unique circus experience. With more than 243 years of circus history under their belt and performers from around the world, this seasoned circus is nationally recognized for its high energy performances with audience interaction and thrilling acts. Dance in the aisles with ringmaster Tony Tone. Crane your neck to get a glimpse of the high flying trapezes artists and chow down on cotton candy.

Before this Indianapolis community event, grab dinner from any of these Indianapolis restaurants. Afterward, go for drinks at any of these Indianapolis bars. Stay tuned for all the latest on fun things to do in Indianapolis. We cover Indianapolis arts to Indianapolis sports and everything in between. Get out in Indy and find some fun! Make the most of the Circle City!

UniverSoul Circus
Friday, July 15 at 10:30 am and 7:30 pm
Saturday, July 16 at noon, 4:00 pm and 7:30 pm
Sunday, July 17 at 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm and 6:30 pm
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Lafayette Square Mall
3919 Lafayette Road
Indianapolis, IN