Magic, Created with Projections, Horses  & Artists  
By Iride Aparicio

  Principal Normand Latourelle CAVALIA.jpg
    Artistic Director and Creator of CAVALIA - NORMAND LATOURELLE

SAN JOSÉ, CA – There is magic under the 125-foot tall BIG White Top that spans over 58,000 square feet on Julian Street.  “ODYSSEO”,  CAVALIA’s new  a spectacle, is so wonderful, that it leaves men, women and children spellbound.   The show has several acts.  Each act a source of wonder,  and completely different than the previous one.  All the acts are accompanied by music: a song sang by a singer, an instrumental group, or a person playing an instrument. Entertaining the audience, is the troupe of international  Acrobats, Aerialists, Dancers, Jumpers  Riders and Horses. Many Horses, which as we all know, are the stars of the show.

Aside from the performers’  acts, which are fantastic, this  year’s magic is accomplished, in part, by the backstage  projections on a-state of –the-Art screen, three times the size of the world’s largest cinema screens, which give each act  the look of a work of art. The panoramic views are so true to life, that looking at them transports us, vicariously,  to pastoral green prairies, breath-taking mountains,  clear lakes, a forest where the snow is falling, and a group of  majestic water falls .

Hidden behind a transparent black curtain is the magic that we all be watching through the night. When the curtain opens, we are in a forest of tall tress. Aroumd the stage 5 pairs of white Horses are galloping, each pair carrying a girl standing on both their hinds with a foot on each one. These  girls, dressed in silky white pants with a trail, simulating a skirt, floating  behind them, are “The Fairies” The Magic begins.

          “LES FÉES” (The Fairies)                          Photo by JAK WONDERL

There are many more Magic  moments in the show. Among the most spectacular  the CAROSELLO, a life-size Merry go round that descends from the top of the tent to the stage, and starts spinning as as a group of Male and female acrobats, climb its metal posts, using their bare feet and hands, and start doing  acrobatics as the CAROSELLO spins around, its wooden horses moving up and down.

In the background, we hear the lyrics of the Chanson (song):  “The universe is an illusion, infinite poetry where dreams in a circle caress the thoughts and the world. And then a refrain:  (But)turn this life turns still turns without end, as with the nose up to look The great dream shall live and who will not end. Will not end.  (Text Raoul Duguay Adaptation Fabrizio Voghera.

   CAROSELLO                                                             Photo By DAN HARPER

 We move to AFRICA, the act called in the program The Appel D’Afrique. (The African Appeal) Shown on an earthly, panoramic scene with sporadic trees, a group of  bare-chested, bare-footed African men,wearing  green and blue pans, stand chanting an African song, with raised arms, accompanied by a single tall African drum.  Their song seem to be a hymn, that is repeated many times. The lyrics” O walu guere moufan! appear written with black letters on the screen. The group invite the audience to join their chant. The words mean:  No more war.

Also in Africa, we attend  “A Village Celebration", which is an energetic, acrobatic number, and a demonstration of  the dexterity in the bodies of the Athletes. The things they do with their bodies, seem  unbelievable. Perhaps what got them most applause on that night, was when one by one, jumped backwards on the front of the  stage,  and after making a circle with their bodies in the the air, fell on their feet, where they repeated  the jump, the circle and the falling on their feet many  times at a very fast speed, forming a perfect line, covering the length of the stage.  

On another unbelievable act, the group of young men, jumped high landing on top of another man's shoulders until three of them formed  a human pyramid of several men in different positions. . The different “human towers”  created with their bodies, were amazing. Thei flexibility of these men's bodies looked as something out of this world.

Village Celebration     

But as we all know, CAVALIA is an spectacle where the horses are the heart and soul of every show, demonstrating the bond between humans and horses, so the horses create Magic also on that night.

CAVALIA utilizes all breeds of horses: Arabians, Appaloosas, Lippizan, Lositanoa, Percherons  and Spanish Purebred to name a few. “ODYSSEO” has 65, but not all the horses “work” in every show. One of the reasons why every show is different,  is that the horses, like people, have different “personalities, and  in CAVALIA the horse’s trainers, allow the horses be who they are, creating every show around their personalities.  So we see horses running, jumping, doing Dressage, orderly  following each other in a perfect long line. 

CAVALIA CAVALCADE.jpg              CAVALGADE                                                  Photo By JAK WONDERLY

There were  48 riders on that night, and  many demonstrations of the different types of riding. The horses, are perfectly trained so the show moved smoothly from one act to another letting the audience see all the things that horses can learn to do in groups: running around a ring, changing directions, changing positions, or alone, with its rider, standing on it back or circling the horse's body completely by sliding over his back and belly, with the horse running at full speed. A fantastic demonstration of technique, was given that night by the Spanish horse, showing the audience the elegance of his many steps, trotting, moving sideways, even splashing on the water dancing in perfect rhythm with the music beat.  It was marvelous.

Pictured center, ELISE VERDONCQ                        Photo by JAK WONDERLY

Every one of the horse shows had Magic of its own, but the the act that most impressed the audience on opening night was however, was  “Freedom”  presented in a field surrounded by trees,  with ELISE VERDONCQ  and her horses. The animals are so well trained that she could make them run, stop, walk in line, follow each other or brake into different groups, with nothing but a whisper and a gentle movent of her hand.

According to the tickets sold, two thousand people attended ODYSSEO at Opening Night. When asked a few, to describe ODYSSEO with a single word, the word was MAGIC.


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To purchase tickets for  “CAVALIA/ODYSSEO” you can go online to:   or call 1-866-999-8111. The performances will continue to SUNDAY OCTOBER 16, 2016