Montrealer learned to work the Cyr Wheel from the master
To watch Eric Saintonge manipulate his Cyr wheel, you’d wonder how he manages to do it.
He must be using every single muscle in his body to spin and twirl the hoop during his act, the opening acrobatic scene, in Quidam.
Not so, says the veteran Montreal athlete.
“This, this is like a vacation,” he said of the work he does with the wheel.
“In gymnastics, you have to do all the apparatus,” Saintonge said.
“In the circus, you do what you like to do.”
The 37-year-old has only been with the show for three weeks, filling in for the usual opening German wheel act, whose athlete is taking a break for a bit.
The German wheel involves two hoops joined by joined together at various spots around the circles.
The Cyr wheel, created by Quebecer Daniel Cyr — who taught Saintonge the discipline — is a single hoop, which makes its movements more fluid.
“I was the third or fourth person Daniel Cyr taught so I’ve been taught by the master,” he said.
Saintonge has been performing with the Cyr for eight years as a freelance artist.
This isn’t Saintonge’s first Cirque show, however.
He started with it in 1996 as a consultant, trying out new apparatus. Eventually, Saintonge decided he also wanted to be on its stage and was one of the athletes to perform on the power track in Alegria, its own unique display of physicality and strength.
His opening is one of 10 athletic acts in the two-hour show. Others include Chinese yo-yos — but not like the ones you remember from childhood — aerial contortion in silk, skipping ropes — see above re: your childhood memories — aerial hoops, hand balancing, Spanish webs, statue — you have to see it to believe it — duplex trapeze and the Banquine.
Quidam is at Interior Savings Centre, 300 Lorne St., from Aug. 15 to Aug. 19. There are several shows and a variety of ticket prices. Tickets are at ticketmaster.ca.