Cavalia Odysseo

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Ever since my first exposure to Cirque du Soleil, I have been fascinated with their many different themed shows. First of all, calling them shows is actually an understatement. I’d say that more realistically, it’s an experience! Now in comes Cavalia, which debuted in 2003, making it to Atlanta in 2009. The idea of horses being involved in anything acrobatic has always been intriguing to me. I really need to let you all know that Cirque du Soleil and Cavalia are two separate companies and experiences. They are appreciated in different ways. I love them both the same.

When I received the opportunity to go to Cavalia’s newest production Odysseo, I was ecstatic. I am a horse lover and have always wanted to own my own stable with my own horses. One day! However, every time I get a chance to, I want to hang out with these majestic beasts! Right from when I came out of the parking garage and laid my eyes on this MASSIVE tent, I was already in awe! Later finding out it’s the largest tent in the world. Amazing! After the show we went down to the stables, which I’ll get to later, this is when I saw the enormity of this colossal tent. Literally hundreds of concrete blocks stacked up in order to build up the ground to level out the tent. I was mesmerized just by the undertaking it must have been to get this up and operational and then to think they travel with this from city to city! How many trucks? How much time? How many people? Are just a few of the questions that bombarded my mind all at once. I was already entertained and hadn’t even seen the show! LOL

The show was nothing short of impressive! One thing I thoroughly enjoyed was the interaction between the horse and the person. The trainers were so gentle and with the slightest hand gesture, the horses responded. At one point in the second act, one of the horses went rogue and was running around in circles just doing its own thing, hamming it up for the crowd. One of the trainers stepped in front of it and with her hand calmed the horse and brought it back into alignment with the other horses.  A real life horse whisperer in action. That right there gained more respect from me of this outfit than the rest of the show. They treat the horses’ right; they take care of them and act as if they are family. Beautiful and daring acts of these trainers acrobatic prowess was displayed throughout the evening from climbing around the body of the horse while in gallop, jumping from the ground over the horse to the ground and back onto the horse, hanging from the side in full gallop, to standing on two horses. The training it must have taken to get these horses to respond to these different tricks is mind-boggling! I wouldn’t know where to even begin. As the scenes changed, different sets of horses would come out and demonstrate their talent. The scenes covered every situation in nature from jungle scenes to desert scenes to lush tropical water fall scenes. As you are transported to and from some of nature’s greatest wonders, the stage is transformed into many different situations including a hill where the horses appear from behind as if they are coming over the top of this hill after a long journey and down into a valley. Fantastic artistry and stage design was revealed as it enveloped you more and more into this wonderful story of humans and their horses.

Another favorite for me were the acrobats. It made me dizzy to watch them flip and tumble across the stage at sometimes such a high rate of speed, I thought they were going to splat on the ground at one point! What characters they were, sometimes the comic relief and sometime integral parts of the different scenes, they kept you in the story.

As the show was coming to a close a reflection starts to grow on the stage floor, to my amazement, they were flooding the stage floor with water. WHAT?! This was by far the most perplexing thing to me. How and what was holding the water in? How were they going to get the water out in time for the next show? The billboards you see around town with the horses running through water, it’s true and those pictures are accurate. I was just completely satisfied with this experience, all but wait there’s more. I was honored and privileged to be able to now go meet these beautiful, talented horses up close. They were gorgeous, with some of them having braided manes and some of them just having such a beautiful color to them. ALL OF THEM where healthy and kept clean! Can you say even more kudos and more respect! Not to mention, as you all know, I LOVE music. A full LIVE band accompanied the event and where creatively displayed in the tree tops both stage right and stage left for the whole audience to enjoy. Anything with LIVE music, I am most certainly going to like, especially if they are good. Well these musicians where nothing short of the crème of the crop, able to flow with the scenes and ad lib if they needed to (remember the rogue horse I told you about?) The brilliantly navigated that scene and almost made you feel as if it were part of the act. We found out later it wasn’t, sometimes the horses like to let off steam and they have never had two shows turn out the same. One BIG family on wheels, horses and humans together.

As I told you in the beginning how awed I was at this entire undertaking, now I was even more blown away. A total of 71 horses from 11 different breeds and 6 countries made up the equestrian side with 54 acrobats, aerialists, dancers, musicians and riders/trainers of different nationalities where able to coexist and incredibly all spoke horse.  An incredible undertaking and one show NOT to be missed. I certainly do not want to end this article without thanking Tara Murphy of 360 Media. She is the one to contact with any marketing, PR, and advertising needs. The 2,200 seat bleachers where filled on a Wednesday night! MAJOR KUDOS!!!!

For ticket information, show dates and times, please visit www.cavalia.net or call 1-866-999-8111.

A MUST SEE SHOW FOR ALL AGES!!!

– Eric Newcomer, Artist Advocate

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