Running Away with the Circus : “Fully Charged” Comes to the Patriot Center

Running Away with the Circus : “Fully Charged” Comes to the Patriot Center

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey :  "Fully Charged"

By Punch Pulse Correspondent Niki Clark

At some point, we’ve all had the same dream. To run away with the circus. What an incredible feat it would be! To dazzle cheering crowds as a brave and daring lion tamer, capture the awe and wonder of the masses as a graceful dancer atop a beastly elephant. As I kid, I could almost hear the tense silence of the audience below as I fearlessly walked the trapeze. I could see the faces, waiting with bated breath, moments before I am shot from a cannon, in full and blazing glory, sailing magnificently above their heads.

Yeah. So that didn’t end up happening.

Don’t give me wrong. I love my job (which has nothing to do with the circus although in past careers I have certainly felt surrounded by clowns). And few of us actually end up following that particular dream. I had certainly never met anyone who had. Until Wednesday.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is in town. Their latest show, “Fully Charged, is performing in Fairfax at the Patriot Center until April 15. As soon as I got wind, I jumped at the chance to go. I was greeted by the Fusco Brothers, Emiliano and Maximiliano. I could literally write a novel about the fascination that is their lives. Here’s the cliff notes:

Emiliano and Maximiliano are FIFTH generation circus performers. Their father was an Argentinean-renowned gaucho, their mother a contortionist. They have cousins in Cirque, a sister in Circus Circus in Las Vegas and Maximiliano is a Guinness Book Record Holder for juggling 5 clubs for 57 minutes straight. When they are not performing up to three shows a day, they practice upwards of 8 hours a day. As twins, they have an advantage as Emiliano’s wife, and the twins’ assistant, Nicole tells me. “Most juggling acts yell at each other to signify they are ready. Most times Emiliano and Maximiliano know what the other is going to do without saying anything at all. It’s a twin’s connection.”

The Fusco Brothers Juggling Act

The Fusco Brothers Juggling Act gave us a personal performance before the show. Emiliano (right) met his wife Nicole (middle) when she was in the audience of one of their shows. They fell in love and she literally ran away with the circus. Now they and their 4 year old daughter live the circus life! Photo Courtesy Bim Boogie Fonzarelli-McMillan!


Which brings me to Nicole. She is the bonafide runaway-to-the-circuser I mentioned earlier. As an audience member in the crowd of Baraboo, Wisconsin, Emiliano found himself entranced with the beautiful Nicole. He gave her his phone number and they soon became a couple when she showed up at their next show, down the road at another town. Seven months later they were married and five months after that they were expecting their now four-year-old daughter Jasmine.

When I asked her the role she played in the show, she laughs. “What don’t I do?” She rides the elephant in all its grandeur during the National Anthem. She helps the brothers with their act. As a dancer with 16 years experience herself, she helps with choreography and dances in the show herself.

It’s a fascinating life—and show—to say the least. Circus life has a certain amount of normality to it. Nicole talks about the great benefits—health insurance, a traveling daycare and school for the children of performers, getting the opportunity to see the world. But most importantly, she gets to spend every day with the man she loves the most, the man she literally ran away with the circus for.

Check out Fully Charged, and the Fusco Brothers, while you can. There are pre-show activities that allow families to interact with performers up close and learn circus tricks themselves. It truly is the greatest show on earth.

More information on tickets and dates are located at

About Niki McMillan:
Punch Pulse Correspondent Niki McMillan is a part time photographer; full time Red Crosser and 24/7 big sister to fellow puncher Lindsey. She loves travel, puppy kisses (especially from her own, ichabob) and invites to bourbon-orientated events.
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