Alex and I decided to make the trip across the water to see the equine extravaganza, Cavalia – Oddysseo, in Vancouver. We walked on a morning ferry and then took a bus to the olympic village in the city. The air in the crowd was electric as the opening act began. The music, background screen, lighting and stage are gorgeous, but the horses put on the real show. As the horses were let loose into the arena the excitement in the crowd rose.
I knew that the horses would be performing all manner of feats, but in the opening act I was simply enjoying the beauty and simplicity of horses rolling in the sand, sniffing, interacting and grooming each other. I was nearly moved to tears by the energy in the stadium and the spectacle of horses BEING horses. It was intriguing to me knowing that no two Cavalia shows could ever be identical, because the horses are truly left alone at liberty during certain acts to roll and play to live music with spectacular lighting and backdrops.
Before I get too deep into my Cavlia experience I would like to announce that I’ve created a new Facebook Group called “Liberty Horse Lovers.” It’s a platform where YOU can post, we can all share ideas, exercises, our horse pictures, and expand our liberty awareness. I hope to see you there! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1374286926170266/
Back to Cavlia: There was an uprush of energy and the human performers and horses kicked it into high gear with intricate movements, acrobatics and memorable performances. My favourite act was (no surprises here) the big liberty show. At one point there were twenty eight horses at liberty interacting with their trainers in groups of four, carrying out complex choreography.
The coolest part to me was when a couple of the horses decided that they weren’t interested in participating in the pre-conceived choreography and were just going to do their own thing. One large grey horse took off like a shot and was clearly having a blast galloping around, weaving through the other horses, taking off up the hill (yes there was a hill) and bucking. He dashed through the other horses repeatedly. Aside from pinning their ears and thrashing their tails at him for disturbing their performance they carried on like he wasn’t there.
I was extremely impressed that:
A) The horses knew they could take off and do their own thing
B) That the horses were so well trained with good relationships with their handlers that they chose to go on with the planned performance and ignore the antics of the independent horse.
C) That the human performers were so very on the ball and in tune with their horses. I could see their subtle body language and cues which were required to lead such a large and boisterous group.
Alex and I did notice that one of the two equine rebels disappeared at some point without us noticing. I can only assume he was removed from the stage with a horse sized cane. Eventually the remaining grey who was flying around with complete glee was also brought back into his team and a string was thrown about his neck to keep his behaviour under wraps for the rest of the display.
I truly enjoyed the Cavalia spectacle and would recommend it to anyone who loves Cirque Du Soleil or horses!
Have you seen a Cavalia show? What did you think?