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In Cavalia's 'Odysseo,' wild horses could take your breath away

credit: Pascal Ratthé The stage is meant to feel like a playground to the horses. Credit: Pascal Ratthé

Sixty-seven horses won’t fit on just any stage (moreover, they won’t fit on many stages), so the creative team behind Cavalia's “Odysseo” built the largest big top tent in the world beneath which to stage their show.

“First, we wanted the horses to feel like the stage is a playground,” says show creator Normand Latourell. “The second reason for such a huge stage is that we wanted to recreate nature.”

A digital backdrop the size of three Imax theater screens projects landscapes ranging from dense forests to sweeping canyons across the giant stage.

The production, which Latourell calls “a marriage between acrobatics and equestrian arts,” depicts the history of humankind. But why use horses to tell this story?

“Horses have been a part of our world for 5,000 years,” he explains. “Looking at the history of the horse is looking at the history of humanity. It was easy to create a show around that. Of course, in the show, there’s nothing easy.”

“It’s like 'Cirque du Soleil' with horses,” says Latourell, when asked to describe “Odysseo” in a nutshell. Latourell is an original "Cirque du Soleil" cofounder, so he knows what he's talking about.

In one feat, a herd of stallions — a notoriously stunning but unruly breed — moves fluidly, and rather miraculously, as one being.

“You get to see the horses totally free. They have no halter, no saddle, but they move in kind of a ballet choreography,” explains the creator, who believes that horses are “the most beautiful animal on Earth.”

If you go

"Odysseo"
Aug. 7-18
White Big Top
201 Assembly Square Dr., Somerville
$34.50-$220, 866-998-8111
cavalia.net

 
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