Only at The Greatest Show On Earth® can you see the impossible become possible, and Francleib Rodrigues, better known as "Flabson," is a prime example as he walks upside-down, high above the arena floor without a safety net or harness. Using only loops to support his feet as he suspends inverted above the audience, Francleib frolics, spins and skips from one end of the truss to the other.
He began training to become a circus performer when he was 15 years old in his native country of Brazil. A first-generation circus performer, Francleib was inspired to join when he visited a local circus for the first time at the age of 14. Learning the tricks of the trade from his circus peers, Francleib's first feats of aerial bravado began with the flying trapeze.
For seven years, Francleib performed the trapeze with his troupe, traveling all over Brazil until one day he caught wind of the unique foot-looping act. Not having seen many aerialists perform this unusual and difficult skill, Francleib knew that he wanted to be one of the few to learn it.
Becoming familiar with the dynamics of the act literally one step at a time, Francleib gradually became more comfortable with being inverted and eventually incorporated quicker and more intricate moves into the routine. For his final stunt, he combined his flying trapeze skills with a set of asymmetrical trapeze bars for an in-flight finale that was sure to have audiences gasp.
Francleib made his debut with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents ZING ZANG ZOOM®, Gold Edition in 2009. Never having worked in the United States or with a "show so big," he knew that his hard work had paid off. Francleib was jubilant when he was invited back for a second tour. Being able to continue performing with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is truly a dream come true.
"Ringling Bros.® is so exciting for me because I'm used to working in much smaller circuses. This show is really big, so I'm honored and excited that I can be here, and I hope to be here for many more tours," exclaims Francleib.