LONTANO + INSTANTE brings the Cyr wheel centre stage

We spoke with the artists behind the hypnotic PuSh performance

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      Two performers. Two performances. One big aluminum ring. 

      LONTANO + INSTANTE features circus artists Juan Ignacio Tula and Marica Marinoni performing with a Cyr wheel in two very different ways. 

      “It was really beautiful to find the Cyr wheel,” says Ignacio Tula over Zoom. He’s accompanied by Marinoni; the two are a day away from flying into Vancouver from France in preparation for the festival. 

      “It's the perfect place between the dance and the acrobatics. When I used this object, that was for me, the perfect place.”

      Ignacio Tula first started working with the Cyr wheel—a large aluminum or steel ring roughly half a foot taller than the performer using it—back in 2010, and it was a 2014 workshop that inspired Marinoni to start developing her skills on the apparatus. 

      “When I finished school, Juan proposed for me to join the company and to create the show with him. So this is how we began with the wheel and the project; everything is connected,” she says. “I really agree with what Juan said about the mix of acrobatic and dance; I think each Cyr wheeler can share this beautiful feeling and knowledge you have when you spin around.”

      Marinoni opens the show with LONTANO, which will find her onstage clad in boxing gloves, punching, ducking, and kicking the wheel in a 25-minute acrobatic brawl. 

      “It's about a fight and the conflict between me and the Cyr wheel, and with this vocabulary of falling, punching and grabbing and smashing down,” she says. “We had this idea of boxing gloves and the idea was to create a fight and to put it onstage … And so we explored all this material that became almost a new vocabulary on the Cyr Wheel; a new way to move, a new way to have a relationship with the tool.” 

      INSTANTE, on the other hand, will see Ignacio Tula spinning with the aluminum ring for the entirety of the performance. 

      “The Cyr Wheel never touches the floor,” he says. “I take the idea of the Spinning Dervish, you know, the Turkish dance. I take this concept and I try to work with the idea of the performance when I never stop turning.” 

      He says that he and the audience go into something of a hypnotic trance as a result of the relentless spinning with the wheel, over which Ignacio Tula has layered sounds and images from his travels.

      “When you enter with me in this show we connect together, you feel something. It's really a show for you to immerse yourself in, and to travel together.”

      LONTANO + INSTANTE marks the first solo performance for Marinoni, who says working with a Cyr wheel requires the utmost precision. 

      “In both of the shows, we start with very simple actions that we repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat to the infinite, since this action becomes really complex,” she says. 

      “When I created this show it was like coming back to the beginning, back to the very base, to the most simple thing you can do—but you have to be super precise … There are no mistakes allowed.” 

      LONTANO + INSTANTE runs from January 26 to 29 at the Scotiabank Dance Centre as part of the 2023 PuSh Festival. Tickets available online.