Aerial hoop

The aerial hoop (also known as the lyra, aerial ring or cerceau/cerceaux) is a circular steel apparatus (resembling a hula hoop) suspended from the ceiling, on which circus artists may perform aerial acrobatics. It can be used static, spinning, or swinging.

Manuela Mücke decided to use the Aerial hoop as her second show act because the aerial hoop act benefits from a strong flexibility and she will answer us some questions about it.  

How do you create your choreographies and transitions?

For the graduation at the National Circus School in Albania I had to perform two acts. Already there I decided to perform the Aerial hoop as second act. My act took about two years of developing sequences and transitions. It was a combination of exploring and training for hours and hours.

Now, I´m very happy with this act. I can adapt it for different shows and songs. Sometimes I switch around the sequences or specific tricks within a sequence. Most of the time I have three sequences within a number of which I can switch the order. I recorded myself when i’m training quite often because i am my worst critic. When I create new transitions, I try to make them as fluid as possible.

What are the best flexibility exercises for the chest stand on the hoop?

Training contortion on the ground is a great way to increase your flexibility in the air. Holding chest stands and learning how to breathe in this pose can help a lot to increase your flexibility. My secret for warming up my back quickly is stretching with a foam roller. I warm up my bridges and chest stands with it in my back so it takes the pressure off my muscles. I also do chest stands elevated so my chest is higher than my feet. This increases the flexibility in your upper back.

You have a very innovative and dynamic style. Could you give some advice for dynamic transitions on the hoop?

It’s important to find your own style and way to move on a hoop. Many artists have similar skills but it is the transitions into each or way of moving on a hoop that makes it so unique. Once you know how to manipulate a hoop it’s all about exploring your own different possibilities. Sometimes you can get stuck moving in the same way. At that moment its best to either leave it alone for a little while until you can come back with a fresh take or ask for an outside eye. Sometimes it can take months to figure out a “new” transition and other times it happens right away. Watching videos is a great way for inspiration.