I was asked to provide a review of Cavalia for Barnmice for Cavalia during April 2011. A big thank you to Barnmice and Cavalia for offering me such an amazing experience. The entire night was more than I could have imagined!
The Cavalia Experience Vancouver, BC
By Shannon Whitaker
Cavaila has often been described as a “Cirque Du Soleil with horses”, but it is much more than that. It should not be classified as a horse show or as a circus; rather an exquisite visual orchestra displaying the union and trust between man and equine. Cavalia was created by one of Cirque Du Soleil’s original founders, Normand Latourelle, and brought to life by director Erick Villeneuve’s poetic vision. Cavalia’s tranquil music and vocals easily captivates the audience. The show featured a cast of 35 artists and 49 horses who offered a mesmerizing performance that included trick riding, vaulting, classic Dressage and Pas De Deux, liberty training, plus amazing acrobatics both on the ground and in the air.
“It can take six months to ten years to train the horses that perform in Cavalia,” tells Gregory Molina, a Cavalia artist who participates in some of Cavalia’s most breathtaking scenes such as Pleds Percussion, Carrousel and Haute Ecole with his equine partners, Grascioso and Guapo. Molina’s demonstrated equestrian passion is witnessed both onstage and offstage as he interacts with the horses.
Cavalia began with the beautiful birth of the horse. It presented the magical introduction of the horse to mankind and the evolution of their relationship based on trust between the two beings manifested before onlooker’s eyes. This production has dazzled an audience of more than 2.5 million and has completed more than 1,300 performances across North America and Europe.
Performance highlights included Grande Liberté by Sylvia Zerbini where she communicated with dancing Arabians in what appears to be a secret language without the use of lines or whips. The trick riders were exhilarating as the horses galloped around the stage while riders did a variety of acrobats on top of their backs. Fairland Ferguson impressed the audience as she rides atop two horses in the Roman riding act in what seems effortless as she adds in more horses and even jumps over cavalettis held up by fellow artists!
The Cavalia show can be enjoyed by everyone. Riders will appreciate the intricate training that goes into both horse and rider as they accomplish difficult and dangerous acts. Those who do not ride will be amazed at the beauty and grace of the horses as well as the artistic scenes and thrilling acrobats. All will be captivated by seeing some of the most beautiful horse breeds including The Pure Spanish Breed, Lustanos, Arabians, Belgians, Criollos, American Quarter Horse, Paints and Appaloosas. Nineteen stallions and thirty geldings compose Cavalia’s horse cast. At both the opening and closing of the show the audience was delighted by two rambunctious mustang yearlings that bounded onto the stage without handlers and freely played at liberty with each other and the props.
Cavalia’s 110 foot Big Top tent is currently in Vancouver’s Olympic Village until May 1st. The colossal White Big Top spans more than 26,264 square feet and features a 160 foot wide stage filled with a custom mixed footing for the horses. An impressive 210 foot-wide screen serves as a backdrop for the projections and special effects. The traveling Cavalia Village also includes a Rendez-Vous tent, the General Entrance tent, two artistic tents, and a large warm up tent complete with screens showing the stage and a staff cafeteria.
The Rendez-Vous ticket holders are treated to a special entrance that opens an hour and a half before the performance as well as preferred seating in the centre rows during the show. The luxuriant ambiance of the Rendez-Vous tent, complete with an extravagant selection of hors d'oeuvres and an open bar, provided a total package to ensure an extraordinary night for spectators. During the show’s 30 minute intermission, the Rendez-Vous tent treated their guests to a scrumptious dessert buffet. There is a large private courtyard outside of the Rendez-Vous tent that leads to the Big Top through an exclusive entrance. An attentive and welcoming staff ensured that each guest is content throughout the night.
After the show, Rendez-Vous guests were treated to an exclusive visit to the stables to meet the Cavalia horses as well as a chance to meet the Cavalia Artists. Guests that purchase the horse lovers package also received a tour of the stables as well as seating in the front rows. The Cavalia stables spans more than 16,500 square feet and features spacious and clean stalls for every horse, wash racks and a large tack room. A team of 20 people including veterinarian techs, blacksmiths and grooms ensure that the horses are cared for 24 hours a day. The horses perform a maximum of seven shows a week and each horse and rider has a trained relief that is able to take over if needed. While touring, each horse is exercised 20-30 minutes a day. They also receive approximately two weeks to rest between each city and are transported to set locations where they are able to relax and enjoy time outside. The horses are often flown into new cities and the Cavalia Village and supplies are usually driven.
Cavalia is an absolutely stunning visual masterpiece that will exhilarate your soul and all are encouraged to partake in this unique event that is the first of its kind. You will not be disappointed. Future tour locations during 2011 include Calgary and Quebec City. A new production, Cavalia 2, will also be featured this summer in Montreal. Tour dates and more information about Cavalia and Cavalia 2 can be found at www.cavalia.net.
Carousel: Frédéric Chéhu
Discovery: Frédéric Chéhu
Trick Riding: Lynne Glazer
Grande Liberte: Jean-François Leblanc
White BigTop: Guy Deschênes
Bungee Photo: Lynn Glazer
Mirror: Pascal Ratthé