South African ringmaster Daniel “Lucky” Malatsi is reshaping the global circus with his magical antics

Stephen Nartey March 17, 2023
Daniel “Lucky” Malatsi/Photo credit: Jacksonville

His magic as the circus ringmaster is to keep his audience in stitches of laughter. Since experimenting on the streets of Johannesburg with his own tricks of back handsprings and contortion at the age of 4, Daniel “Lucky” Malatsi is now a delight on the global circus stage. He is one of the star performers on the UniverSoul Circus caravan. Whenever he walks on stage, his objective is to ensure he leaves an unforgettable memory with his dancing, magic tricks, a bubble of enthusiasm, and lack of predictability.

His uncle, who was a seasoned acrobat, groomed Lucky at the age of 10, and later encouraged him to join UniverSoul Circus. He started as an acrobat and contortionist, and subsequently spiced it up with hip-hop dancing. Since he modified his performance, he has been a trampoline, teeterboard artist, trapeze, and Cossack rider. There is no show by UniverSoul that Lucky the ringmaster isn’t part of.

As a ringmaster, his job responsibility is to make his audience laugh. This is a role he gladly goes to extreme lengths to achieve; having an eye on every audience who pays to attend their shows. He feels unfulfilled after singing, dancing, clapping, smiling, and laughing without getting most of the patrons to share in the fun.

UniverSoul was set up in 1994. One of its key pillars is to create an inclusive platform that has talents from all around the world; from clowns, bikers, a group of contortionists from Guinea – known as Bone Breakers, and trapeze artists, according to Jacksonville. It prides itself on having persons of different cultures bring their tastes to bear on stage. It is in light of that philosophy that performers like Lucky were recruited.

For Lucky, there is no need to disappoint when selling his culture; his traditional ringmaster attire is a hat and red topcoat with tails, which has been his signature feature whenever he steps on the stage. His stage costumes, he claims, bring a whole different cultural experience to the crowd. Lucky pays a lot of attention to his wardrobe, and never repeats an outfit on stage. His edict is, every year must have a different costume.

 For him, the priority he gives to his stage clothes is the same as what he invests in getting even the most reserved audience to laugh, mainly because audience engagement is at the heart of UniverSoul Circus production. Since he was employed at the circus, Lucky considers every show as a challenge to prove himself to be better for his spectators.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: March 17, 2023


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