A large, metal, grounded hoop that the performer rolls and spins inside. Debatably invented – and at the very least popularised – by Cirque Éloize co-founder Daniel Cyr, the Cyr Wheel is a specialist acrobatic discipline taught by Daniel himself and a few others dotted around Europe. (Also, oddly, the Wheel has transitioned into the strange shirtless beach world of physical culturists.)
Despite claims to have 'a virtually infinite number of acrobatic figures', technical performance on the Wheel tends to be quite repetitive and the best practitioners are usually those who work around the apparatus as much as on it.
a.k.a: Roue Cyr
'In Finland we did the very, very first show and we had these Finnish lumberjack guys crying afterwards because it connected to them as 50 year-old lumberjacks; one guy came to me after and he was crying and saying, ‘This is something that... that really wants to say something’. It’s amazing, to have a circus show that connects to men who are like 50+ lumberjacks. How do you get beneath the surface of that person, the shell of that person, and touch him?'
John Ellingsworth talks to Olle Strandberg, director of the runaway success Undermän, about autobiography, circus texts, the affinities of circus and street dance, working for Cirkus Cirkör, and having to start over after you've lost everything.
If you were of a mind to, you could perhaps identify two dominant movements in contemporary circus. Both are about that ridiculous word 'truth'. Where is the truth? Where is the essence?
A scandalised woman in front of me is reaching round to cover her son's eyes as Marilén Ribot, wearing a knotted corset of rope, struts back and forth to a disco beat.
Within the first ten minutes two audience members have been pulled up on stage—Tom, who’s busy peddling the bike that provides the theatre’s electricity, and Saga, nervous and clutching a handbag, who’s philosophically brutalised by the ringmasterish whiteface.