For those unfamiliar with Cavalia’s Odysseo, imagine a show created by a co-founder of the Cirque du Soleil and then add in 67 four-legged stars to the mix.
But it is so much more than that. It brings to heart humanity’s relationship with horses across cultures and civilizations in a stunning spectacle of equestrian arts, horsemanship, acrobatics, live music, nature and high-tech theatrical effects at never-before-seen levels.
Wedged between the Cambie Street Bridge and the Olympic Village in Southeast False Creek is the world’s largest touring big top: a massive 38-metre tall tent with an internal ground area larger than two NFL football fields.
It allows for theatre seating for 2,000 people and a massive stage built and sculpted with 10,000 tons of rock, earth and sand to create a playing field and two hills that are each three storeys tall. Behind all this are crystal clear video screens three times the size of IMAX screens that use 18 powerful projectors to create a backdrop of beautiful, moving natural landscapes ranging from waterfalls, ice caverns, the African savannah, sand dunes, lush tropical forests, the Mongolian steppes, and the stars and Northern Lights.
It provides the stunning imagery needed to create the worlds and fantasies of where 48 acrobats, aerialists, an African troupe, and trick riders and their horses make their journey across landscapes.
A moving carousel also descends from the roof to provide Cirque-like acrobats with a performance area to dazzle the audience with their talents.
The Oydsseo epic concludes with an incredible finale when the stage is flooded with 300,000 litres of water in merely a few minutes. The entire stage is inundated with water to create a large, shallow lake where horses, riders and artists join to frolic, leaving behind them the traces of their splashes and an astonished audience. There are also spontaneous, unplanned moments of laughter from the acts of strong-willed and playful horses. One horse even decided to fall out of the routine to meet the audience at the edge of the ring, and was only guided back into the act by a four legged friend – without any help or calls from their trainers.
Rarely do such shows receive constant applauses from the audience, but Odysseo was an exception throughout its entire two hour run (excluding a 30-minute intermission) before climaxing with a standing ovation.
Due to high demand, Cavalia’s Odysseo tour in Vancouver has been extended by a whole month. It will continue to run until Sunday, February 2 with the addition of 26 shows. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets online.
Images: Cavalia’s Odysseo