Performance Review of Cavalia by Dustin Hurrell

December 5, 2011

Performance Reviews


Cavalia – An Equestrian Marvel

The horses are stampeding through Portland, Oregon and show no sign of slowing down, at least, not until January 2nd when they head off to Seattle, Washington.  The Montreal -based equine show, Cavalia, is now in its ninth year. Premiering back in 2003 in its birth province of Quebec, the show has since grown to be a worldwide phenomenon performing across the globe in countries such as Belgium, Spain, the United States, and many more. I was invited to attend a 45-minute media event, in Portland, followed by the opening night the next day.

The show can been described as a grand spectacle, transporting you seamlessly from enchanted meadows, ancient racing circuits, fairy-tale forests and winter wonderlands. Cavalia is the production of creative genius, Normand Latourelle, who also serves as the President and Artistic Director of the show. Latourelle is the co-founder of Cirque du Soleil and has incredible experience with creative productions. Although, its four-legged performers steal the show, the array of acrobats who accompany them still shine. Acrobats that seem discontent with simply walking and feel the need to flip, cartwheel and fly on and off stage.

So you may wonder what it takes to run a show such as this. Well, you have to feed 49 different horses that eat 17,500 bales of hay, 36,500 pounds of grain and 1,750 pounds of carrots annually. You must construct an entire stage, 2,500 tons of dirt and sand and place it in the largest tent in North America spanning more than 26,200 square feet.  And you only have 12 days to set up.

The NY Post writes, “ [Cavalia] is a dreamlike spectacle exploring the relationship between man and horse. It’s a rare show that evokes a sense of wonder.”

The Montreal-based La Presse says Cavalia is “A production to be seen once, and again a second or third time.”

At the opening night in Portland, the cast received a standing ovation. The 33 acrobats, artists, riders and dancers are from Canada, France, Kyrgyzstan, Moldavia, Morocco, Russia and the USA. Six musicians and a singer are also part of the cast.

A show like Cavalia takes time, commitment, dedication and incredible passion of all involved. Whether trick-riding such as back-flips on horses, or hanging upside down, head alongside a horse’s thundering hooves; to seeing a single trainer handle six horses through slight hand movements and soft-spoken instructions; there is something for every member of the family.

Love of horses not required – the show will grip you from start to finish!

By Dustin Hurrell
Grade 12 Guest Reporter

Photographs by Ingrid Hurrell

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Photographs by Ingrid Hurrell

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