When I was invited to a media preview of the Cavalia "Odysseo" show in Denver, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I didn't get to go last time Cavalia was in town in 2010 due to a conflict, but I'd heard rave reviews from my friends who went. From barrel racers to eventers, they all thought it was pretty amazing.
Before the 50-minute preview began (the actual show runs two hours), Founder and Artistic Director Normand Latourelle shared a few statistics about the show.
- It took 100 trailers to transport all of the animals and the sets from Cavalia's last stop in Edmonton, Alberta, to Denver, Colorado. The transport and setup took 16 days.
- Sixty-two horses—Appaloosas, Arabians, Holsteiners, Lusitanos, Paints, and Quarter Horses, among other breeds—compose the equine performance group.
- Fifteen riders and acrobats appear on the "stage."
- Speaking of the stage...it's a performance arena, twice the size of an average hockey rink, complete with a hill in the background, and the front of the set fills with water at one point in the show.
- The stage is housed in what they call a tent, but it's far from any "big top" you might envision. It's a 17,225-square-foot, white enclosure, reminiscent of Denver International Airport.
- Additionally, Latourelle wanted to ensure that no view was obscured by equipment, so the arches that make the peaks of the tents support 80 tons of weight and stand as tall as 125 feet. (This allows a carousel to be lowered from the ceiling at one point in the show!)
- While all of this setup took place, the equine stars spent two weeks resting and relaxing on a ranch in Wyoming.
I was pleasantly surprised at the ease with which "Odysseo" marries its acrobatic and equine elements. There's trick riding and drill-team maneuvers paired with extreme tumbling and dancing, all by skilled athletes, both human and equine. Not to mention some great dressage maneuvers paired with breathtaking visuals.
If you're in Denver any time during through October 5, 2014, I'd recommend attending a performance. It's suitable for all ages (I wished I had my 6-year-old with me to experience it), and there are matinee and evening performances. Find tickets here.