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Sparks will fly at this circus

October 10, 2012
tags: ,

Published in Metro

Brian Crawford may not have to walk a tightrope or ride a unicycle, but he is on the circus stage for every act, longer than any other performer, and he sings, too.

“I’m the link between the audience and what they’re seeing on the arena floor,” says Crawford, who is the ringmaster in “Fully Charged,” Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s latest show. Crawford had never even been to a circus show before joining this one.

“It was a pretty steep learning curve,” he admits.

So what is life on the road like for a circus staffer?

“When you’re at work, you’ll walk by and see a clown practicing his juggling and a stilt walker passing by, and, oh, there’s an elephant,” says Crawford. He’s been traveling with the show for two years this November. He says that old notion of “the circus must be in town” when you spot a weirdo is a bit of an exaggeration.

“We’ve settled into quite the groove, become a little community. And, obviously, we’re all people and we’re pretty normal when we’re not at work.”

But Crawford says his favorite act in the show isn’t normal: Brian Miser, “The Human Fuse,” sets himself on fire and launches from a giant crossbow going 65 miles per hour.

Getting used to the fuse

The theme of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s show, “Fully Charged,” is all about power and energy. “We play around with human power with acrobats, animal power with our animals and fire power with the human fuse,” says Crawford.

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