Aerial Lyra

The aerial lyra, or hoop, is one of many circus props, similar to a flying trapeze. The earliest versions were first seen in the late 19th century, and lyra is commonly used in circuses today.

I’ve been dancing with trapeze, lyra, and other circus props for years, and wanted to continue while studying at MIT. Commerical equipment goes for $200-500 per apparatus, but the core components are much cheaper, so I figured I’d build the equipment myself. MIT ProjX funded this project and I built the apparatus in MIT workshops MITERS and D-Lab.

I started by building a trapeze. I used a steel tube and sewed the padding out of foam and recycled fabric. 

Next, I moved on to building a lyra. I used a tube roller to make the circular shape, cut out the rope attachment with a drill press and bandsaw, and welded everything together. I painted the lyra with leftover iridescent paints and added a swivel so that it can rotate indefinitely.

These were pretty fun builds. Now I hang them up and practice in out-of-the-way places around MIT.


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