Under the White Big Top: Odysseo: Cavalia

Under The White Big Top: Odysseo: Cavalia

By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher

Recently, Movieguide® had the chance to do video and social media coverage of the imaginative big top spectacular using acrobats and horses called Cavalia. We also covered an actual performance of the show.

As billed, there’s no doubt that the horses are the stars, and in the second act, one horse performs incredible equine maneuvers, such as pawing to music, dancing and rearing up. Even so, the riders, both men and women, and the acrobats deserve commendation.

Having served in the cavalry in military school, my father was an excellent horseman, who did cavalry tricks such as riding under the horse and shooting at the bad guys in his Bob “Tex” Allen movies. From my understanding, Hollywood stopped this particular trick riding in the 1940s because it was so dangerous. They actually performed this stunt to a limited degree in Cavalia, as well as some other trick riding stunts, which were probably first developed by the cavalries of yesteryear. The performances by horses and riders were very good, and the interim acrobatics were also commendable.

That said, the show could have used an overall story, a device which makes Cirque de Soleil performances so interesting. Also, some of the acrobatics and horsemanship was not quite as superb as the wonderful Vienna’s Famed Spanish Riding School Lipizzaner Stallions show, which involves more military activities.

Also, the prices are a little steep for families, and there were very few children present during the show Movieguide® attended. In Europe, there are often student and youth tickets to acquaint audiences with everything from operas to operettas to circuses. I grew up on Broadway and Hollywood, and in the 1940s and 50s, there were student and children tickets available. That meant that new generations got to be excited about the different performance media.

Even so, we highly commend Cavalia and recommend going to see it in Camarillo, Calif., where it’s now playing, and other cities for which it’s scheduled.