‘Hyena’ by Alula Cyr
The Old Market
04 March 2018
“She is the one who turns like a great wheel. She is the maker of cycles. She is the one we leave home for and come home to. She is the mucky root of all women.” So begins the description of the debut show from the UK’s first all female cyr troupe, Hyena. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I turned up to see Alula Cyr perform this intriguing-sounding performance but I wasn’t disappointed. An impressive combination of gymnastics, dance, acrobatics and song using great metal wheels; beautifully choreographed and full of depth and power.
For those who have never experienced cyr wheel it is a large metal hoop, just slightly taller than the performer. Standing inside it and grasping its rim, they cause it to roll and spin while performing acrobatic moves in and around the rotating wheel.
Taking it in turns to hold the centre stage the three women perform breathtakingly beautiful displays on the hoops but this performance is so much more than just circus skills. There are themes of connection, nurture, trust, honesty, power and humour in their interactions and relationships. This is a beautiful portrayal and exploration of the complexities, love and support in female relationships. It was clear from the very beginning of the show through the way the three characters interacted that they were telling a story as well as blowing us away with their physical skills. Laughter, tenderness and even a guarded competitiveness as times display the different elements of this three way relationship.
The theme of trusts runs throughout the choreography and is implicit in so many of the sequences. There is a real feeling of this trust between the characters themselves and it is clear that it is not just a simple necessity for the tricks.
There is a sense of progression throughout this hour long performance as the power of the relationships and the movements build. There are so many moments where their acrobatics take your breath away and the beauty of the spinning performers inside their hoops seem to defy possibility.
A refreshing and too uncommon experience of seeing in detail the beauty and power of the female experience and connection. There was no need to explain or contextualise their interaction. There was beauty and power in them alone. I wondered to myself as I watched what others were making of this performance. As I left the theatre feeling full of emotion and deeply moved I overheard someone describing the display as “friction and physics”. Laughing to myself, I couldn’t help feeling that they had missed a monumental part of this show. It’s so much more than just physics and friction.