Commuters in Burbank may have taken note of the impressive new addition to the city’s skyline. The stunning white tents signify the return of Cavalia and a newly imagined performance starring some of the most talented animals to walk on four legs.
The performers and horses of Cavalia last appeared in Burbank in 2011 when the show ran for a number of weeks. This year, the Quebec-based troupe returns to perform “Odysseo,” the newest incarnation of the internationally acclaimed spectacle.
Finding a clear label to define Cavalia is surprisingly complex. On the surface, the show is an exhibition in precisely trained equestrian performing arts – some of the most spectacular horses on the planet displaying some truly unbelievable feats.
Yet at its core, the purpose of Cavalia transcends its impressive choreography and artistry. The show’s goal is to make audiences doubt their own eyes while pushing the limit of the connection between person and animal.
The person at the center of it all is Normand Latourelle, a man who is no stranger to revolutionizing the field of performing arts. As one of the original founders of Cirque du Soleil, Latourelle began Cavalia in 2003 before introducing “Odysseo” in the fall of 2011.
“‘Odysseo’ is a marriage of the performing arts, theater and an equestrian performance. This year’s show is totally new and different,” explained Latourelle. “It is more spectacular, more grandiose, more modern. It all is performed at a more exciting rhythm.”
While the horses are the center of the show, the broad scope of artistic disciplines on display during a Cavalia performance gives it appeal to anyone interested in the visual arts.
“People who don’t know horses, or don’t care about horses, will still think it’s fabulous. It’s not a horse show, it is a combination of several different types of entertainment,” said Latourelle. “It is very entertaining, very colorful. We’ve been told it’s the best touring show. People will see the most beautiful horses, the top quality training – you wouldn’t believe what we can do with horses.”
Aside from the show itself, the most impressive part of “Odysseo” is the intricate detail of the training that precedes a tour. The dozens of horses that travel with the company are given the utmost care by a team of the show’s staffers who groom and exercise the horses while commanding them in French.
“All of our training is done in respect to the horse. Our trainers develop a bond between human and horse, and much of what we do would not be possible otherwise,” explained Latourelle.
The success of the show’s training methods allow for an incomparably large scaled performance. At one point, the show features 32 horses on stage that perform a choreography with only eight trainers.
“What we have managed to do could be considered revolutionary in training horses,” continued Latourelle. “Both the horses and the trainers are required to exhibit significant versatility during the performance. The riders practice acrobatics while on the horses while controlling the animal and maintaining the choreography.“
Cavalia premiered yesterday, Feb. 27 and will continue through Sunday, March 24. Tickets are available by calling (866) 999-8111 or by visiting www.cavalia.net.