A feast for the eyes, thrilling, delightful, highly entertaining: Cavalia‘s Odysseo is all this and much more! With each of its spectacular shows, it also celebrates one of the greatest and most profound connections in history: human and horse.
As its founders describe it, ‘Odysseo marries the equestrian arts, stage arts and high-tech theatrical effects at never-before-seen levels’. This truly is no overstatement!
A must see show, Odysseo opens on June 21 2017, in Mississauga, under the ‘White Big Top’ (a spectacular 125-feet tall structure which is a true masterpiece in itself).
I had the unique opportunity for a ‘behind-the-scenes’ show preview and visit with the horses just one day prior to the show’s big opening night. What a privilege to meet some of the incredible artists and to be introduced to the stunning and well mannered four legged super stars!
With exotic names such as Andaluz, Gavilan, Edition, Equador, Fadista (to only name a few), Cavalia‘s 65 horses (about 20 stallions and 45 geldings) are a mix of the world’s finest breeds: Appaloosa, Arabian, Spanish purebred, French Saddle, Friesian, Canadian horse, Hanoverian, Holsteiner, Lusitano, Paint, Quarter horse.
In between shows, Cavalia horses get a much deserved opportunity to rest and enjoy pasture time. They can run, play, eat grass. All in all, ‘be horses’.
This is part of Cavalia‘s admirable, nurturing approach to the well being of their lead stars. The training methods are also designed to make sure the horses enjoy working and performing on stage.
Following every show, the horses are braided with love and care by Cavalia‘s wonderful grooms. The 15-45 minutes process is not only fun to watch but also highly enjoyed by the horses! Some even fall asleep!
Part of Cavalia‘s daily routine is the horses’ warm up. Like all athletes, the four legged superstars need to be ready to perform. They surely love their jobs!
The glimpse into Odysseo’s newest stellar performance brought a huge smile to my face and, at times, tears to my eyes.
It is visually perfect, each second of it makes for a painterly moment. Both human and horse artists are superbly synchronized in a remarkable partnership which makes Odysseo so special and unique in the entire world.
The lake that appears on stage is created using a system of pumps with two behind-the-scenes water tanks. At the end of the show, the same pumps drain the pool (40,000 gallons of water are used and recycled).
Cavalia performers have an obvious bond with their horse partners. Below are lovely Steven Paulson (with stallion Greco) and Elise Verdoncq (with gelding Andaluz). I had the pleasure to chat with them after the show’s preview and they passionately spoke about their roles as performers and horse trainers.
A dream job!
Cavalia horses feel the appreciation shown by their human counterparts. Always a joy to witness!
Around 10,000 tones of sand mixed with fiber are used to create the stage. This mix preserves the moisture, avoids the release of dust, thus insuring performance ease for both acrobats and horses.
An invitation to dream about far away lands while relaxing into a breathtaking experience, Cavalia’s Odysseo invites you all to step through its doors for your own share of magic!
My thanks go to Mr Normand Latourelle (Cavalia‘s Artistic Director and creator) and his admirable team for a warm welcome and a truly unique glimpse into everything going behind making Cavalia‘s extraordinary Odysseo.