It all began with the massive white tents that overtook portions of Marymoor Park, similar to those from Cirque du Soleil. After the tents followed the enormous billboards scattered seemingly everywhere with the handsome grey horse accompanied by the name “Cavalia.” I was intrigued. The only barrier between me and seeing the performance were the over one hundred dollar seats. I was ecstatic when my mom purchased tickets to the show.
Cavalia contains equestrian and performing arts as well as splendid multimedia and special effects. It is a tribute to the relationships held between horse and man throughout history; it was remarkable to see the connection from riders to horses.
Created by the co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, Normand Latourelle, Cavalia premiered in January. However, prior to opening, the show was extended due to its high demand. Cavalia features 46 horses corresponding to 11 various breeds from the United States, Canada, and Europe. The most common horse breed in Cavalia is the Pure Spanish Breeds (18) and Quarter Horses (13). There even was a miniature horse!
In one act, there was a group of horses that had no riders or any sort of equipment attached to them. They followed the requests of the woman in the center. The horses would stay perfectly spaced from each other and canter in circles, change directions, rotate, and follow sophisticated commands while moving freely.
Another impressive act was the Roman riding, in which riders had one foot on one horse and one foot on the other. They would gallop in circles and eventually got to trickier riding when both horses underneath them would jump an obstacle while the rider maintained the same position standing straight up! One rider, a humorous character, rode the Roman way, but instead of having the horses jump, he leaped over the obstacle himself and landed back on top of the two horses perfectly while they continued to canter.
All kinds of riding were depicted, such as Dressage, a type of riding in which the rider must use discrete signals with their legs, seat, and reins to ask the horse move in what some consider “horse ballet.” Horses in Cavalia stretched out their legs, moved in sync with their pair and showed off many more fancy tricks while the riders wore elegant costumes and soothing music was played live.
Vaulting was an additional form of riding seen in the show, which is much more difficult than it may appear. It includes having someone in the center keeping the horse going while the rider stands up, stands on one leg, rides backwards, and performs gymnastics while mounted.
Though equestrian art was the centerpiece of Cavalia, amazing acrobats preformed, such as a man who would roll around on a giant ball and do tricks, such as flipping in the air. It took a lot of concentration and accuracy, and though he did fall off the ball once, I found his performance to be excellent.
One of the performers that never messed up was a woman who would create lassos and jump through them, almost like a new type of jump roping. She would keep the lassos spinning as she did tricks and awed the crowd with her precision.
There were some acrobats who used trampolines, Russian bars, tumbled, the Chinese pole, and some who were lifted into the air. It was amazing to watch a guy do a back handspring all the way across the stage.
I cannot stress how much I enjoyed the show. There were only two downsides, however. The seats were really crowded, causing me to have to stand whenever someone in my aisle had to get through. The other negative aspect was that you had to travel from inside one tent to another by going outdoors. I happened to see the show on a typical Seattle night that rained heavily.
These two negative parts of Cavalia do not reflect anything on the show’s content because I was simply blown away by everything I saw.
Over three million people from the U.S., Europe, and Canada have witnessed this lifetime experience of Cavalia since its premiere in Montreal in 2003. There have been over 1,800 performances since Cavalia’s debut, and many well known celebrities have witnessed the show, such as Justin Timberlake, Demi Moore, Julia Roberts, and Cameron Diaz.
The show wrapped up last week but will continue to thrive all over the world.