Imagine a dozen powerful Arabian horses, all in unison, surrounding a small figure center stage, as they ride together gathering momentum, in faster and faster circles never passing each other, until they stop and each horse rests his head on the breast of the horse in front of him in an exquisite moment of connectedness, beauty and selflessness.
The Montreal based CAVALIA has come to Boston with their latest spectacle, ODYSSEO, (cantering through August 25th) in the largest tent structure ever assembled, just off Rte. 93 in Somerville. CAVALIA has played world wide to some 800,000 spectators, showcasing Spanish purebreds, Lipizzaners, Holsteiners, Appaloosas, Oldenburgs, Arabians and Canadians along side human acrobats, singers, musicians and drummers.
Picture billows of silk floating in the air behind female performers standing up, as they ride against the wind like Valkyries, with left leg on one horse and right leg on another, Roman (chariot) style. You’ll see an “equestrian carousel” with horses dancing sideways in intricate dressage movement. You’ll marvel at the trick riders who can mount and dismount their galloping steeds forwards and backwards (and slip down one side, pass under the horse’s belly and reappear on the other side to sit in the saddle again!).
The lithe female acrobats fly into the air on ropes of silk fabric, which they knot and un-knot with their bodies like elegant contortionists. The male acrobats propel themselves through hoops and over barricades, then some on stilts (which look like Oscar Pistorius’ famous metal “legs”) jump as high as the horses.
This “odyssey” embraces the world, including an acrobatic troupe from Africa, who perform as consummate musicians and dancers, who can leap and bound to the sky, and who drum until our hearts are pounding with ecstasy.
CAVALIA adds lots of bells and whistles (which are impressive, to be sure) like an actual merry-go-round which descends from the big top—and a pond for the horses to slosh through—and gorgeous, panoramic projected scenery—but it needn’t have gone to the expense. The horses, all by themselves, take your breath away.