In Cavalia, horse and human come together to perform death-defying stunts against a set brilliantly wrought and beautiful musical scores.
In the entertainment world, it seems more the industry norm to pit Man against beast – just think popular television series, Man vs. Wild, in which the more memorable segments of the show involve survival expert Bear Grylls slaughtering animals and eating them raw, or Man vs. Beast, in which humans attempt to wrestle, out-eat, and out-do animals. It is against this sensationalist backdrop that Cavalia comes as a breath of fresh air.
Often labelled as an “equestrian ballet”, Cavalia might sound like a talking horse short of My Little Pony, but watch the show and you will know that to pull it off as beautifully as the troupe does is no mean feat.
In Cavalia, horses and humans come together to perform acrobatics, dance and other impressive tricks with much synchrony and synergy. We found ourselves alternating between clapping excessively and then not clapping at all from holding our breaths in while seemingly death-defying stunts were performed before our very eyes. Horses were show jumping, people jumped over horses, aerial acrobats leapt from the ceiling of the White Big Top (or, the tent, which travels along with the troupe from city to city)… There was just so much to see.
Let’s also not forget the multimedia display and the special effects that contribute to the spectacle that is Cavalia. The visual projections – hand-painted and then fine-tuned by graphic designers – depict different seasons and various settings. One minute it’s an idyllic meadow, by the next act, you’re transported to a sparkling ice cave. Perhaps the best part comes in the second half of the show when the stage is transformed into a shallow pond and the equine performers gallop about in the water.
Conceived by Normand Latourelle, one of the co-founders of the famed Cirque du Soleil, Cavalia takes acrobatics and performance to the next level. It takes one man to dream, but 50 horses and then some to re-create the dream and bring it to audiences around the world. This is a production of pristine standards; so much precision, practice and discipline – truly a tough act to follow.
Cavalia in Singapore is the show’s first stop in Asia, and is showing now till 14 September 2014 at Marina Bay Sands. Tickets available from Sistic.