Articles

Reinventing the Cyr-cus Wheel

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No it’s not a hula hoop, although many would argue that it is a close relative. The Cyr wheel, also known as the Roue cyr or simple wheel, was invented in 2003 by Daniel Cyr, co-founder of Quebec-based nouveau circus company Cirque Eloize.

In its simplest form, the Cyr wheel is an enlarged single metal hoop, usually made of a lightweight, strong, unmalleable metal, able to withhold the weight of a human body. Daniel Cyr debuted his invention at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris, France in 2003, where he won the silver medal for his performance. Since then it has been gaining in popularity around the world, currently used in many of the largest circus productions including Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo,” as well as by yours truly, the Zen Arts crew. The Cyr wheel was even a featured performance at the closing ceremonies for the XX Winter Olympic Games in Turin in 2006.

Although closely related to the wheel gymnastics of the German wheel, Cyr has stated that he invented his wheel without any knowledge of a prior similar device. Also known as the Rhonrad, the German wheel was invented in 1925 by a man by the name of Otto Feick. Otto came up with the idea of the wheel after reminiscing about his childhood memories of rolling down hills in a beer barrel band contraption he had created. The German wheel consists of two large metal hoops held together with several supports. And unlike the Cyr Wheel, the German wheel has places within the center for foot placement as well has handles for gripping with the hands. Also unlike the Cyr wheel, German wheel gymnastics have largely remained solely a German sport, whereas the Cyr wheel has spread worldwide.

Many of the tricks done with the Cyr wheel involve the performer riding within the wheel, gripping the tubing with their hands and feet. Often times performers will do somersaults or cartwheels by staying within the wheel as it rolls on a vertical edge. By allowing their weight to tilt the wheel, performers display another popular trick known as a “coin spin,” in which the wheel spins horizontally on an axis eventually resulting in gyroscopic motions as it begins crashing down. With many other tricks including single arm grips, footless holds, and even tandem wheel spinning, the Cyr wheel possess an infinite number of trick possibilities. With over 100 official Cyr wheel performers across the globe, the Cyr wheel has become a bona fide act in the repertoire of modern day circus performances.

Zen Cyr wheel performers Sarah Moser and David Matz are specially skilled Cyr wheel experts, totally prepared to spin their audience into a stupor. To book one of their dizzying performances call 855-ZEN-ARTS or email us today!