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Spinning out in Docklands

29 Nov 2011

Spinning out in Docklands Image

Englishman Neal Holmes likes to come to Docklands every week to spin out.

The busking acrobat comes to Docklands every week to practise his new “party trick” – spinning around inside a giant hula hoop known as a roué cyr (simple wheel).

Unlike most circus acts, mastering the roué cyr is a 21st century phenomenon. Neal says there is evidence that people where doing it in the 1940s but it has only become popular this century.

Neal’s own discovery of the device was only a year ago via YouTube when he was in China working inside a dinosaur as part of the amazingly successful Melbourne-based production Walking with Dinosaurs.

He was dumbstruck at what he was seeing and realised that he had an opportunity to create a signature act – something he could virtually call his own in Australia.

So he bought the equipment off the internet via Montreal, Canada and when it arrived in February he put his heart, soul and many, many waking hours into mastering the device.

As much as he likes a soft landing, the roué cyr doesn’t work on soft surfaces, which is one of reasons the waterfront at Docklands is such a great place to train.

The beautiful ambiance is another reason, but the main reason is the relative isolation that Docklands offers.  Neal’s been “moved on” from a number of seemingly-public spaces but no one bothers him under the Cow up a Tree at Victoria Harbour.

Neal is a self-taught acrobat which is one the reasons he has been able to master the roué cyr.  YouTube has been his only reference so it’s fair to say that he’s learned the hard way.

Remembering to take your fingers out of the way as the wheel traverses the concrete is one of the first things to learn.  

It was a steep learning curve but Neal is now sufficiently confident to have recently obtained a busker’s licence and is now regularly performing at Southbank.

He hopes to earn a living from his newly-mastered skill and intends to develop a honed five-minute routine which will have conference audiences gasping in disbelief.

For a better understanding of the medium, see our short video at http://www.docklandstv.com.au

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