A woman’s voice echoes long, melodious notes in the White Big Top Tent, as haunting as it is soothing. In the blink of an eye, a pair of horses zip across stage, splicing the song like a gust of wind. “Cavalia” has begun.
The stars of this multi-media spectacular are the strikingly elegant horses, galloping, parading by and sweeping audiences into a chorus of “ooohs” and “ahhhs”. Eleven breeds take part in the cirque including Spanish Purebred, Quarter Horse, Paint Horse, Percheron and even a Miniature Horse stealing a scene.
The 2 1/2 hour show is not without its fair share of acrobatic stunts, gravity-defying thrills and captivating sequences choreographed through “floating” harnessed contortionists. But it’s in the moments where human embraces horse that provide the greatest emotional effect. As horses race side by side, a woman maintains one foot on each while holding the reigns of four more; one acrobat lands back-flips atop his horse as it gallops in circles; high-speed riders hold on to the saddles by just their feet, heads dangling dangerously close to the ground. The second-half of the show mesmerizes with these quick-tempo stunts, causing eyes to jolt from wing to wing to catch the next impossible feat.
Aerial contortionists, a lasso wrangler and a ball-balancing performer create quiet pauses of artistic intrigue. The horses move in a serene understanding of the acrobatics surrounding them, as performers also exhibit a mutual respect for their creatures. When a horse occasionally goes off-script to nuzzle a friend or step out of figuration, it’s seen as an adorable accident rather than a punishable mistake.
“Cavalia” explores the bond between man and horse that has connected the two species throughout the ages. As they survey the friendship from pre-historic times to the American cowboy era, the woman’s voice continues to bellow, providing a soundtrack to the wonderment on stage. A harp chimes in during moments of subtleties; a full band bursts during the upbeat rides. “Cavalia” is labeled as an equestrian ballet but also takes on the forms of poetry, history, fairy tale, acrobatics and performance art.
The show is now running in the White Big Top located in the parking lot adjacent to Petco Park. Inside, a 160-foot wide stage allows horses to roam and run with freedom. “Cavalia” has been seen by 3.5 million people across the U.S, Canada and Europe – don’t miss your chance in San Diego. Tickets run from $39.50 to $229.50. For more information and ticket sales, visit cavalia.net.
Good News, San Diego: Cavalia has announced additional performances added for the holiday season. New dates are on sale until Dec. 2, and they’ve also added performances from Dec. 22 to Dec. 30. View more here.
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