A lyra hoop is a circular steel ring similar to a hula hoop that’s suspended in the air by a cable or any lengthy cord attached to the ceiling. It’s often used by circus performers in showcasing aerial acrobatics for their acts. Nowadays, several competitions are held for lyra hoop in solo, duo, or group performances.
The lyra hoop is also known as aerial ring, aerial hoop, or cerceaux.
Origins of the Lyra Hoop
Hoops have been used as recreational products since the 18th century. However, it was not used as part of entertainment acts until the late 1800s when the performer ‘Caedo’ did a routine for an ad. Caedo’s hoop was considered to be one of the first aerial rings specifically created for aerial performances.
Cirque du Soleil popularized it in its shows in the mid-2000s. Its popularity continues to rise as more aerial hoop classes are introduced in dance studios worldwide.
Lyra hoops may have protrusions along its edge where the suspension cables can be hooked on. These connections are called tabs. Lyra hoops can be customized to spin or remain stationary depending on the positioning of the tabs, allowing performers to configure it for their intended effect. There are also rings with no tabs at all (tab-less), handling the reins to the performer to choose whichever setup benefits their routine.
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The tabs are connected to suspension cables made of nylon, polyester, or reinforced steel. Carabiners and swivels may be placed between the cables and the tabs to improve stability and desired ring movement.
Rigging refers to the whole aerial hoop setup. You can hook your lyra hoop to the ceiling but you’ll need the help of a professional who specializes in installing this kind of equipment. Some sellers offer installation services when you buy lyra hoops from them.
Altering your room’s design may be expensive and you may have some hesitations in affixing permanent structures just for your lyra hoop. You can solve this dilemma by going for free-standing riggings ‘ standalone setups which don’t require room alterations to install lyra hoops. You can just buy one, hook your hoop onto it, and start swinging and spinning. Outdoor and indoor rigging variants are available from online sellers like Trapeze Rigging.
The lyra hoop itself is usually made from either aluminum or steel. Aluminum hoops are lighter and cheaper compared to steel ones. Steel ones are more expensive because of its thickness, resulting in heavier load capacity.
Lyra hoop tubing can also be constructed as hollow or solid. Hollow tubes are lighter and tend to spin easily. A solid hoop, on the other hand, is harder to spin but once it accumulates momentum, it will continue to spin longer compared to a hollow one.
It’s important to consider your lyra hoop’s material composition. Steel and aluminum have different static and dynamic load capacities. Static load refers to your standing weight while you’re on the hoop. Once you start moving, static becomes dynamic load which exerts much greater force on the hoop, measuring up to 5 times your original weight. The dynamic load (e.g. 3,000lbs) is what you usually see on the specs list of lyra hoop packages.
Lyra hoop sizes refer to the external diameter of the whole ring; the tubing itself usually measures up to 2in in diameter. Sizes typically range from 30in to 40in, but some manufacturers offer size customizations. You can determine which size is suitable for you by simply sitting straight on a chair, measuring the length from the base of the chair to the top of your head, and then adding 2in to the measurement you got.
Rise in popularity
Just like pole dancing, aerial arts have transcended from its stereotyped function of existing only as part of circus performances and acrobatic acts into special fitness programs offered in dance studios and gyms. Nowadays, lyra hoops, trapeze, and aerial silks have become sources of both entertainment and options for health conditioning regimes.
The numerous benefits this performance-art-turned-exercise-program continue to fuel its rise as part of mainstream performance sports. Its popularity even led to the establishment of international commissions committed to standardizing rules, regulations, and equipment safety not only for competitions held worldwide but also for the growing community of home users.