If you love horses like I do and have since I was a small girl, then you’ll want to go and see anything Cavalia does. Artistic director Normand Latourelle has created a wonderful setting that mixes the ethereal with the dare-doing. Cavalia’s “Odysseo” is an odyssey to different lands and holds a few surprises–all enchanting. The show opens in Burbank, 27 February 2013 at 8 p.m.
I hesitate to give away these surprises. I am sure others will. I would like my readers to be just as awed as I was. So this is a spoiler alert. This is well worth seeing for animal lovers of all ages and people interesting in circuses and phenomenal staging. Go, go, go. Do not walk. Do not trot. Gallop as if you are in the last stretch at the Kentucky Derby or Secretariat breaking Sham’s heart at the Belmont Stakes.
The 10-story White Big Top has settled into Burbank–remember when they first came through Los Angeles and took over Glendale? Cavalia last came through Los Angeles in 2011. This show, “Odysseo,” began touring in the fall of 2011 beginning at home (Quebec) and then going to various cities (Miami, Atlanta, Toronto and Monterrey, Mexico), most recently Phoenix.
This time around there are 67 horses and an international cast of 44 artists. The 15,000 square-foot stage features a real carousel (first spoiler) and a 80,000-gallon lake. In the background is an intricate forest curtain through which one can see a video backdrop the size of 3 IMAX screens. We are at times, just outside a forest, inside a forest and when the forest curtain draws to the side, on the vast plains. We can be on the steppes, in the wild West (movie fans will recognize the formations from many Westerns), in the deserts or in a marshland.
For the press, a one-hour program was presented but this alone was wonderful. Our program began with some jumping by some amazing acrobats, men on stilts and horses. From there, the show transitioned to a more meditative piece with one woman and nine Arabian horses doing a liberty–the horses without any harnesses or bridles being asked to do formations. Then the grand equestrian carousel of real horses takes us to green plains. You think getting dancers to line up and march in formation is hard, consider doing it with horses because it makes no horse sense. From the choreography of a horse carousel we go to an actual carousel but with humans doing an ethereal pole dance on rotating and static poles with vocals by Anna-Laura Edmiston. To switch up the action, there’s trick riding as the scenery takes us to the wild West. Verdoncq on Omerio does Haute-École and she’s eventually joined by other riders and horses. As always, I went away wanting more and wishing that I could own and train a horse.
Cavalia doesn’t just give horse and animal lovers something to dream about, Cavalia also gives back. This year, the show has donated 1,000 tickets to William Shatner’s “Priceline.com Hollywood Charity Horse Show presented by Wells Farbo” and I put that in quotes because that’s how Shatner introduces it at every chance he gets. Shatner was there to accept those tickets that will go to children benefiting from the charities his horse show supports. Shatner commented this is “more than a horse show. It’s magic…The horse is a magical creature, very civilized but beneath that veneer of civilization, at a moment of non-attention, the wild animal re-appears. That’s the tension.”That was so true. During the Arabian liberty segment (Le Sédentaire) with trainer Elise Vergoncq six gray Arabians (Bravas, Chief, Gee Gee, Lover, Pearl, Shake, Silver, Gus and Frosty) all went through their paces, but the two at the end were not always doing their turns when asked and nipping each other in between the moves.
Tickets range from $34.50 to $159.50. On the Rendez-Vous VIP package ($154.50-$269.50) you enter a private tent near the Big Top and you get the best seats in the house, dinner prior to the show, an open bar, dessert at intermission and a photo opportunity with the artists and a tour of the “Cavalia’s Odysseo” stables. The inside of the tent is very comfy and you’ll have your own Cavalia gift shop with plenty of plush horses (but no puppets).
Cavalia’s “Odysseo” opens 27 February 2013 at 8 p.m. and runs until 24 March 2013. Visit www.Cavalia.net for more information.