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Monday, May 18, 2009

UniverSoul Circus: Review and Giveaway!

The only time this mama stopped smiling Saturday night was when her jaw dropped open!

Abel, Lucas and I were guests of the UniverSoul Circus Saturday evening and not only did we get complementary seats to the show, we received complete behind-the-scenes access to the talent (human and animal alike!) as part of their blogger experience.

Blogging disclaimer: when the good folks from the UniverSoul circus e-mailed to ask if I wanted to be part of their blogger experience, I couldn't have written back faster with an emphatic yes! I was psyched to get behind-the-scenes--not to mention, free--access to the big tent that was going up right next door to my grocery store. However, the opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone and would be the same had we paid our own way. (And quite frankly, by the time I purchased Lucas not one but two crazy light-up things, drinks and hot dogs--all a splurge because, hey, the tickets were free!--well, I pretty much did pay for 3 tickets!)

Now back to the show.

The problem is, I don't really know where to begin. This post would be 10 screens long if I tried to cover all the wonderful acts and tell you about all the talent we met. So, I guess I'll start with the first talent we encountered: 35 year old, 10,000lb Makia.

We really were this close! Lucas was desperate to give her a big hug.

Once we got into the big top, we outfitted Lucas with some ear plugs. He isn't a fan of loud noises overall and I had been warned that this show is LOUD. Indeed, it is incredibly loud. Lucas did well with the ear plugs and left them in for the beginning and end. He took them out in the middle and was fine.

We loved the China Soul Flyers trapeze artists. They are truly amazing--and adorable! They told us they loved travelling in the US but do miss their family back home. According to the circus, this is one of the most daring and dangerous trapeze acts currently performing. They do doubles and triples, fly over and under the trapeze and it is all hand to hand! I think my jaw hung open for this entire act!

At one point in the show we found ourselves suddenly transported to Trinidad & Tobago's celebration of Carnival with the Caribbean Zanti Trini Zanti and stilt walkers!

In many aspects, UniverSoul Circus is like any other circus--acrobats, trapeze, elephants, horses. But, in many other aspects, it is completely unique. As I've mentioned, I've never actually been to another circus, but I can't imagine that they all pull audience members into the ring for a soul train line. Or, that they have a dance off. Or, that their ring leader is a hysterical African American woman in a housecoat! (Performed, by the way, by Patrice Lovely, the first African American female ringleader.)

Because we got to go behind the scenes and meet so many of these performers, I couldn't help but think about them as individuals and not just as part of the act. We met, for example, 23 year old Fernando. He's 5th generation circus performer and is fluent in English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. He was a clown and part of the flying trapeze before "retiring" at age 15! Now, as ring master, he oversees the entire show, coordinates rehearsals, rigging, lighting and helps select acts. What a life!

We also got to meet Johan Torres and Henry Gonzalez before we saw them perform the Wheel of Death and then got to talk Johan after their performance. All I could do was grin and gush, "That was amazing!" One of the other bloggers asked how long it would take to teach her to do the Wheel of Death. He estimated maybe 1 month or a little longer. Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! Johan, that's a lovely thought, but I don't think so!

The UniverSoul Circus will be at Capital Plaza Mall in Landover Hills through May 31. I truly recommend that you go check it out. Take your kids or get a sitter and make it a date night. You won't be disappointed!

And, now, Ladies and Gentleman, step right up to enter a giveaway!!

That's right: UniverSoul Circus has generously offered me 4 tickets to the 7:30 pm show on Wednesday, May 20 for a lucky reader! Time is short on this giveaway so please pay close attention to these details:

  • To enter, leave a comment below with your favorite circus act or memory before Tuesday, May 19 at 5:00pm eastern.

  • Please, please enter ONLY if you are available to attend the 7:30pm show this Wednesday, May 20.

  • To be entered, you must leave a valid e-mail address on the comment form (my eyes only) or in your comment (public).

  • I will randomly draw a winner after 5pm on May 19 and will notify the winner immediately.

  • If you have not left your first and last name on the comment then you will need to reply to my e-mail with your full name so the tickets can be left for you at will call on the night of the show.

  • You can earn a 2nd entry by tweeting this contest and leaving a comment linking to your tweet! Here's a sample tweet:

    @smilingmama @usoulcircus Win 4 tickets to the UniverSoul Circus 5/20 at 7:30pm in Prince George's County, MD!

Good luck!

Congratulations to Tech Savvy Mama with comment #4!


  1. What a great contest! Would love to win circus tickets.! My kids love going to the circus--especially like the acrobats and much too salty popcorn! Hope I win!

  2. I would love to win these tickets for my daughter and her friends. We love Universe Soul Circus.

    I remember attending years ago and singing the theme to Good Times and The Jeffersons.

  3. My husband and I are huge Cirque du Soliel fans and we've been to a lot of their shows. When in Orlando for business, we decided to go to the show there and wondered if our not quite 2 1/2 year old would like it or if we would be wasting our money and leaving early. To our delight, she loved it and now we can go as a family!

    We've never been to UniverSoul Circus and would love to go on Wednesday. Thanks!

  4. Tweeted it!

  5. This would be a treat for our family! My husband and I saw this in KC prior to having children and the best part was when they pulled hubby onstage and christened him "Tyrone".

  6. Tweet, tweet....

  7. My favorite circus act has always been the flying trapeeze act. My mother and grandmother would always take my family and I to the circus when it was held at the Stadium Armory. I have two boys, aged 3 and 2, to turn 4 and 3 in June. Their birthdays are 1 year and 1 day apart, so I would love to take my children to visit the circus.

    Dawn Berkeley

    If I am selected, I can be contacted at the following email address: and at twitter, I can be found at


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