Cavalia Odysseo, a spectacular show that marries equestrian arts and stage arts, returns to the Valley on February 21 for a 25-show run under the white big top, which will be raised at Loop 202 and McClintock Drive.
The show features 65 horses of 12 different breeds and 50 riders, acrobats, dancers and live musicians. The $30 million production, which has been staged in Arizona previously, has changed and evolved, said aerialist Jacki Ward Kehrwald. “We have a new finale and the tent itself is bigger.”
Inside the football-field-size tent, the crew builds a three-story mountain from sand and mud “to become a playground for our horses,” said Andréanne Dumont, a rider in the show.
The production also boasts a state-of-the-art projection screen three times the size of the world’s largest movie screen, a life-size merry-go-round and a lake filled with 40,000 gallons of recycled water.
During the show, horses interact with aerialists and acrobats. In one number, four women perched on aerial fabrics are each connected to a rider and horse below. “The horses are… spinning us in a circle while we’re doing aerial ballet above them,” Kehrwald said. “I like to joke that the number is literally run by horsepower.”
Throughout the performance, aerialists are suspended up to 30 feet above the stage, Kehrwald said. During the finale, Kehrwald’s number requires her to fly over the audience in a circle. “It’s one of my favorite moments because you can really see the audience and see the look of amazement on their faces. It’s very thrilling”
The horses travel in style between shows in specially equipped trucks or by plane depending on the distance. “We rent a 747 and recreate the stables on the plane,” Dumont said.
During the off-season and between locations, the horses are treated to farm time where they can run free around the paddocks and enjoy the sunshine. “Our goal is to make sure that our horses are comfortable. We want them to be happy and enjoy tour life,” Dumont said.
The performance is more than just a horse show with aerial arts and tumbling, Dumont said. “The show explores the relationship between human and horse and takes everything to the next level. It’s magnificent.”
if you go
What: Cavalia Odysseo
When: Various times, February 21 through March 4
Where: White big top at Loop 202 and McClintock Drive, Scottsdale