The History of Lyra
Lyra, commonly referred to as aerial hoop or cerceau, does not date back as far as the history of pole or contortion. However, it commands the same respect as aerialists use tremendous amounts of strength, flexibility, and grace to make this aerial acrobatic look flawless as they suspend, transition, spin, and hold poses using a metal hoop that is hung aerially.
The earliest known metal hoops that were used date back to the late 18th century, as a recreational item used for children. There is no recorded lyra performance until 1893, when the entertainment newspaper, the New York Clipper, featured a performer named “Caedo” performing a lyra hoop routine for an advertisement. Fast forward ten years later to a very well known equipment and rigging specialist named Edward Van Wyck, who refers to Caedo’s hoop as one of the first aerial hoops ever developed in an article written in 1903.
Since then, Cirque Du Soleil has picked up lyra and used it in their Varekal show, appearing in the mid 2000’s. Lyra has slowly picked up and is now more widely offered in circus gyms and aerial studios across the world.