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 decide to use the Aerial hoop as her second show act because the aerial hoop act benefits a lo from a strong flexibility and she will answer us now some questions.  

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 decide to perform as second act the Aerial hoop. My act took about 2 years of developing sequences and transitions. It was a combination of exploring and training for hours and hours.

Now with this act i am very happy. I can adapt it to 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 which i can switch in 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.

Is it easy for you to find the right music? How do you look for music for your performances and what are your favorite bands, singers or composers?

I find that searching for the perfect song is probably the most frustrating and time consuming part of creating a new piece. I spend hours and hours researching different artist/composers/videos ect. It can be difficult to find a song that has all the components that you want in one song. For the aerial numbers it is important that the song has enough musical changes and doesn’t become to repetitive. It is also important to really love the song because you hear it so many times! I am always on the lookout for new songs for my acts, when I’m out and hear a song that captures me I make sure to take note of it. I also get a lot of inspiration from different soundtracks from movies and shows that I watch.

What are the best flexibility exercises for 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 the pose can help a lot to increase your flexibility. My secret for warming my back up 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 tips for dynamic transitions on the hoop?

It’s important to find your own style and way to move on a hoop. Many artist could do 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 the 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.