It is time to go to the circus. It is not the traditional Barnum and Bailey circus that featured lion Tamers and “Ladies and gentlemen!” However, the contemporary version, popularized through Cirque de Soleil, is more exotic, darker, and very French.
The lights dim, and a single spotlight shines down on an individual in the center rings. The man is alone, minus the large ring of aluminum that can be held by one hand, reminiscent of an oversized hoop. He can do it with a certain level of nonchalance. He can roll the ring around its edge, which causes it to follow a sluggish route around him.
After a second time, he causes it to go to a slow wobble, like an enormous toppling coin. With the perfect timing, the man walks through, around, and back into the wobbling and spinning ring with a perfectly choreographed dance.
With athletic precision, the man squats down the Wheel using both feet and grasps the edges using both hands. In a split second, the man appears to be a model from Leonardo da Vinci‘s famous “Vitruvian Man.”
Utilizing the Wheel’s momentum, he can perform increasingly challenging inversions and spins while turning graceful somersaults and dizzying pirouettes. To finish off, the performer lifts his feet off the wheels, extends his body to the side, and appears to be being carried by the Wheel but still directing the Wheel’s every movement.
The spectacle that is so spectacular is called the Cyr wheel or the roue Cyr the French. It is a 33-pound (15-kilogram) wheel named for its creator, Daniel Cyr, a Canadian circus performer who showed his simple invention at the 2003 Festival International du Cirque of Demain (“Circus of Tomorrow ” World Festival”) in Paris. Cyr (pronounced “seer”) received the silver award for a spectacular performance using his equipment Source: Cirque Eloize[source: Cirque Eloize].
In just over ten years in the space of a decade, in less than a decade, the Cyr wheel is taking the circus world to the forefront. Hundreds of professional and amateur performers, including gymnasts, acrobats, and street performers worldwide, employ the Wheel to perform and are constantly exploring the capabilities of this multi-faceted device.
- History of Acrobatic Wheels
- The Cyr Wheel Takes Off
- How to Use a Cyr Wheel
- Wheel Gymnastics
History of Acrobatic Wheels
Like many great ideas, the Cyr wheel was not snatched from thin air. It was an idea that existed for more than a century in various forms before Daniel Cyr introduced the basic metallic ring, also known as a monowheel, its most recent and most impressive version.
The Cyr Wheel performer and Acrobat Valerie Inertie have assembled a fascinating story of the Wheel’s history and its predecessors through her site.
The revolutionary American performer Doris Humphrey was the first contemporary performer to include the monowheel in her performance. Promo photos from 1923’s performance dubbed “Scherzo Waltz” show Humphrey with her leg elevated to the sky while her left-hand holds a massive metal ring almost identical to Cyr wheel. Cyr wheel.
The next milestone occurred in Germany in 1925. An ex-railway worker named Otto Feick created the Rhonrad, known in the form of the German Wheel. Feick states that the inspiration for the Rhonrad -constructed from two rings of metal reminiscent of a wheel made of hamsters — stemmed from a childhood experience of being wheeled down a hill by the barrel with an iron rim.
The Rhonrad saw a period that was a frenzied success between both world wars. Feick sold thousands of dual wheels throughout Germany and showcased his invention in front of a throng of admirers in London and New York City. In the United States, Rhonrad was taught as part of school gym classes and used to instruct pilots. In 1936, for the Berlin Olympic Games, 120 Rhonrad athletes showed off their talents head-to-heels in the opening ceremony Source: Inertie].
It was the first commercially-produced monowheel — the closest ancestor of the Cyr wheel created during postwar East Germany by Adalbert von Rekowski in the 1950s, at the beginning of the decade [source: Winkler]. The Einreifen was dubbed”the Einreifen Single-wheel machine; it included straps to attach one’s feet onto the rings and the handlebar used to grip.
When Daniel Cyr began playing with mono wheel designs in the late 1990s and early 2000s, he would have been aware of that double-ringed German Wheel, but not the Einreifen one, which had disappeared into the shadows. Cyr says he was creating Cyr’s Cyr wheel after having seen the large hula hoop and the circular coat rack made of wrought iron Source: Inertie].
The first model of Cyr was made from a single piece of hard steel. In subsequent iterations, the model was redesigned to use aluminum to reduce weight and added the PVC coating to give a more smooth spin. Ultimately, He created a very portable design that can be dismantled into five pieces, then reassembled easily using screws (source: Inertie].
The next installment will focus on the Cyr wheel’s popularity through its most talented performers and most spectacular performances.
The Cyr Wheel Takes Off
Daniel Cyr, a graduate of the National Circus School in Montreal, started his career in the circus by becoming a “free ladder” specialist, an act wherein the performer can climb and balance on the free-standing ladder made of metal and sometimes playing juggling to make it more difficult (source: National Circus School.» In 1993, Cyr founded Cirque Eloize -the show of variety modeled after Cirque de Soleil and Cirque de Soleil and began playing on designs for Cyr’s Wheel. Cyr wheel.
Cyr first performed his Wheel in public in 1998, during the Cirque Eloize production called Excentricus [source: Inertie]. For the next four years, he traveled with the circus across North America, Europe, and Asia and performed his ever-changing Cyr wheel routine on every stage. Only after his silver-medal performance in 2003’s “Circus of Tomorrow” festival was the Cyr wheel deemed real circus art.
In 2003, Cyr taught a few fellow Cirque Eloize performers how to operate the Wheel. Following his triumphant performance in Paris, he was enlisted to coach other performers, such as Valerie Inertie — our helpful historian. She was one of the Cyr’s first artists to appear outside of Cirque Eloize.
In 2005, no one but Cirque de Soleil approached Cyr, asking Cyr to assist them in developing the Cyr wheel show to perform in the show “Corteo.” Cyr was also requested to perform his mono-wheel routine during the opening ceremony for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy [source: Cirque Eloize[source: Cirque Eloize].
Cyr returned to his college to teach teachers of the National Circus School in Montreal in teaching the new generation of performers to use this versatile device Source: Inertie]. The Internet also helped spread the Wheel’s popularity, with hundreds of YouTube videos featuring performers and websites selling high-end Cyr Wheels for less than $1000.
We have had enough of history; let us spin.
How to Use a Cyr Wheel
The great thing about having the Cyr wheel is that they can be as simple or intricate as you want. It is similar for novices and experts. With a small quantity of practice and perseverance, nearly anyone can master the ability to carry out basic Cyr wheel motions.
First, you must decide the appropriate dimensions for your Cyr wheels. Many Cyr wheel manufacturers recommend purchasing a wheel about three inches (8 centimeters) higher than you are (source: Coggs]. Sitting comfortably on the Wheel and efficiently reaching its edges with your arms extended at the two o’clock and 10 o’clock positions is essential.
Wear loose clothes. Walking barefoot or wearing socks is ideal for indoor use; however, you will require shoes if you work outdoors on the pavement. It is also essential to place the wheels on a non-slip surface.
The first step to start using the Cyr wheel is finding your balance. The fundamental Cyr wheel position is to sit straight up with arms extended and then hold the Wheel ahead of the body. Its “V” shape directly places the center of gravity in the chest area (source: Tribble].
Before you start any spins, you can stand on your feet’s balls and balance as long as you can. Once you are at ease, you can try some of these simple spins and starts:
- Skate begins: With one foot on the Wheel, you can push off using the other foot, as if riding the skateboard. Incorporate the “pushing foot “pushing foot” to the Wheel and spin it.
- Wheel-to-toe Start: Start the wheel rotation using your arms, then step onto the wheel spinning.
- Roll-by Start: Start the spin by placing your arms between the 12 and 9 o’clock positions. Your torso should be twisted to hold the Wheel by your side and turn it all over your upper body when you walk onto it with a fluid motion.
Video tutorials are available for these three fundamental starting points and more advanced techniques on instructor Sam Tribble’s channel on YouTube.
In a fascinating past and present clash, this Cyr wheel has become popular with a fringe sports subculture that has existed since the glory days of the German Wheel. Find out more details regarding “wheel gymnastics” on the next page.
Spinning Like a Top
It is common to experience dizziness as an aspect of learning the Cyr wheel, but people have become used to it. Chewing on ginger candy is helpful as well.
Are you familiar with the German Wheel with two rings, the “hamster wheel,” or the Rhonrad? This fun sporting device designed in the 1920s by Otto Feick in the 1920s continues to enjoy a large following. Since 1960, German severe wheel athletes have competed in competitions of what is known as “wheel gymnastics” [source: InertieInertie.
The International Wheel Gymnastics Federation (IRV) was established in the year 1995 in order to preserve the German tradition of wheeled Acrobatics. In the case of the German Wheel, there are three gymnastics disciplines for competition.
- For straight-line competitions, gymnasts can roll the wheels in a circular motion on an unbroken line while performing intricate inversions and rolls.
- When participating in the spiral contest, the participants create a wheel that spins and wobble like a coin.
- In vault competitions, for vault competition, gymnasts are placed on top of their wheels and execute fast-flying turns and flips before placing them on the ground.
IRV World Championships take place every two years. In the 2011 championships at Arnsberg, Germany, the Cyr wheel was used as an exercise in the demonstration. Instead of having the competitors perform the traditional choreographed routine in a traditional choreographed routine, the two Cyr Wheel competitors were matched up head-to-head in an actual Cyr Wheel “battle” [source: Inertie].
2013. Wheel Gymnastics World Championships in Chicago was the first time it was the first time that Cyr Wheel was included as an official competition discipline and its particular “Code of Points” [source: IRV]. The judge’s panel rates the competitors using technical programs (without music) and non-competitive software (with music). Cyr Wheel Cyr Wheel gymnasts must perform specific maneuvers to be at their most complex. They are judged based on their performance, difficulty, and, when they are competing on a free program, on artistic performance (source: IRV]. The rules were revised and enlarged for the June 2015 championships at Ligano, Italy [source: IRVSource: IRV.
Do you think that wheel gymnastics is fun? There are over 500 wheel sports clubs around the world, including around a dozen clubs within the United States. Contact the members of the IRV in your region to find out about opportunities to experience each of the wheel sports, the German Wheel and Cyr Wheel. You can also go off and join the circus.