This past week Peggy, Sandy and I had a Girl’s Night at the theatre. Instead of the usual musical numbers Peggy and I go to see, we had tickets to Cavalia’s Odysseo – which Sandy kept referring to as “Dancing White Horses.” I was really hoping it ended up to be more than what that description entailed, and it most definitely was!
Cavalia pulled into town in early May and set up their tent, which as of March 2011 is the world’s largest touring tent(thanks Wikipedia) – and it is impressive. The original dates only had them in town for a few weeks, but as the show has been wildly successful it keeps getting extended and so far will be in town until at least July 11th.
The three of us met up and headed to the Keating Channel Pub for dinner, a random little pub right at Lakeshore and Cherry and conveniently a short walk from the entrance to the Big Top. Cirque du Soleil normally pitches it tent just a short walk in the other direction, and Peggy and I have utilized this restaurant for its decent menu and subsequent free theatre parking in the past.
It was a gorgeous night out (or horribly hot and humid if you ask Sandy) and we were treated to a beautiful view of the city on our walk to the tent. After a quick maintenance break, we headed into the theatre to find our seats – which were amazing, considering they were just over half the price of the best seats in the house (which, to be fair, also come with a private lounge and a stables tour).
I can 100% confirm that Odysseo was infinitely more than just ‘Dancing White Horses.’ I think the easiest way to describe the show is that it seems to be like any Cirque du Soleil show, but with Horses. There are lots of acrobats involved in the show, who share the spotlight with their equine counterparts. Many of the acts involved typical horse and rider set up, but the more interesting ones surrounded horses seemingly following their master around a ring and following commands – with only the aid of body language and a small pointing stick. Watching four horses break into a gallop then stop and pirouette with hardly any cues was beautiful – but seeing them chase a human down a hill and then come to a dead stop behind her was fascinating.
During our show we also bared witness to a few horses having what appeared to be a power struggle – or just a hissy fit. While there were several groups of horses being led around the ring sans equipment, two horses in one group started to stray from the pack, galloping around on their own, bucking and generally ‘horsing around’ (forgive me). The whole situation made me nervous. Horses are incredibly powerful animals but are surprisingly fragile at the same time, one injury to a leg could easily mean the end of a career – or a life.
I thought the handlers managed the situation phenomenally. There were no looks of panic, and the rogue pair were given a chance to blow off steam while the other twenty some horses were kept calm. Without anything more than a gentle pat of approval, the horses were brought back to their positions and the show carried on. It was nice to see that the animals still have their wild streak, and don’t appear to be punished for exhibiting it.
Sandy and I pouted a bit after the show ended and announcements were made for the VIP and Horse Lover ticket holders to remain in their seats to await their stable visits – but we got over it. It was a wonderful evening under the Big Top and I’d recommend it to any one!