Stark Insider continues to pursue the creative impulse, and the people who bring us magic — be it in the arts, food, film, music, or travel. In this episode Loni heads backstage at Cavalia’s dazzling new show Odysseo. Be sure to subscribe to the SI YouTube channel and receive email notifications for new episodes.
I went one way. Cricket went the other.
Training a performing horse — a cheeky quarter horse in training no less — proved to be a surprisingly inspiring process. And I use the word “train” loosely. As you’ll see here in the Stark Insider video, I try my best, but things sort of run amok.
Odysseo, Cavalia’s ambitious and grand show, indeed looks like magic. A stunning mix of multimedia, acrobats, and, yes, horses combine for a unique theatrical experience. That it does appear to have the Cirque-like mystique and visual flare is probably no accident. Cirque du Soleil co-founder Normal Latourelle kicked off Cavalia’s first tour in 2003. Ever since, the show’s grown increasingly successful, with large, lavish tours across Canada and the U.S.
About 60 horses in total perform in the show. Logisitically, can you imagine?!
One of the first things I noticed when meeting the Cavalia artists was the special bonds they share with the horses. These training sessions, like the one you can see in above video, help build trust between horse and human. Names are important. As are cues, both verbal and physical.
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In this session, rider Emmy Love and acrobatic aerialist Brennan Figari are working with a trio of horses who will be part of the “Liberty Partners.” Rocky (Mustang) joins his partners in training, Drago (Portuguese Cross) and the feisty guy Cricket (Quarter Horse) are getting to know each other and the performs, and before long they will be integrated into “chapters” of Odysseo.
But first, I meet up with performer Julissa Panus for some aerial skills training. Once I stepped out of the drizzle at AT&T Park, and into the White Big Top, this is how it all went down backstage at Odysseo…
WATCH: ODYSSEO by Cavalia – Horse Training & Aerial Skills