By Nan Meek
What’s the best gift you’ve ever given, or received? Did it make your eyes sparkle or your heart beat a little faster? Did it become a treasured memory? Since the very first Cavalia performance in 2003 right through to this year’s Cavalia Odysseo, tickets to this enchanting theatrical experience have a well-deserved reputation as “the best gift ever”!
Now delighting audiences at the White Big Top in Ventura County’s Camarillo, near US 101 & Santa Rosa Road, Cavalia Odysseo is founder Normand Latourelle’s imaginative synthesis of the equestrian and theatrical arts that enhances the heartfelt bond between beautiful horses and talented performers with high tech, multimedia special effects that transport audiences on a magical journey through time and place.
The Gift of Enchantment
Cavalia Odysseo is a visual feast, engaging audiences with scenes of pastoral serenity as a herd of white Arabians at liberty gather in a forest clearing, and later as a sleeping village awakes along with their horses who stretch and roll in complete freedom with delight as they begin their day.
Breathtaking feats of Cossack riding make hearts beat faster in suspense, while exquisite Roman-riding fairies enchant the imagination.
Acrobats on the ground and in the air create edge-of-the-seat thrills, whether on an African savannah where the tumbling antics of the athletes have the audience clapping and chanting along with them, or high above the stage where aerial artists whirl and twirl with gravity-defying grace in giant hoops suspended in the sky.
Carousels create a magic all their own. An incredible pinwheel formation of horses fills the stage as they revolve around a central point, as well as an actual, life-size merry-go-round that descends from the ceiling in a setting for acrobats to spin romantic fantasies as they perform on rotating poles as couples and alone.
Spectacular horsemanship is on display throughout the performance, whether at full gallop as horses and riders jump in dizzying formations, or in the most demanding movements of elegant dressage silhouetted against the humongous backdrop of a magnificent landscape and waterfall, or splashing through a real lake made of 40,000 gallons of recycled water on stage.
From snow-white Arabians to dark-as-night Canadian Horses, and from multicolored Appaloosas and Paints to silvery Spanish horses and Lusitanos, among many other breeds and colors, the equine eye candy has to be seen to be believed. It is truly breathtaking!
One gorgeous horse after another creates an abundance of beauty, while costumes, sets, special effects and lighting evoke locations around the world for the show’s equine and human artists, and the audiences that adore them.
The Gift of Shared Experiences
It was a family affair and more for best-selling author Elizabeth Letts. She brought her mother and children to Cavalia Odysseo, along with the family of one of the heroes in her latest equestrian book.
At Cavalia Odysseo, the bond between the writer, her family, and the hero’s family was celebrated where the legacy of artistic equestrian performances continues to create magical experiences with both modern, top of the line technology and age-old horsemanship traditions.
Some gifts go above and beyond. El Sueno Equestrian Center manager John Duron brought 50 of his Somis barn’s clients, trainers and friends to the first night’s performance in Camarillo, hosting a party at El Sueno beforehand and transporting the group by bus so everyone could relax and enjoy the entire experience.
“This was John’s gift to everyone, in memory of his wife,” dressage trainer Michael Lieberg explained. “It was a wonderful evening, and even the husbands who don’t ride horses enjoyed themselves. This show has no boring moments, with the choreography and music put together so artistically, and the fast paced rhythm – everybody enjoyed it, no matter if they were horse people or not.”
A gift for the entire family: Just before the lights dimmed before the second half of the performance, one of the last to find their seats was a family of five. Mom and Dad carried the popcorn, while three little girls in ruffled party dresses clutched large white plush horses in their arms.
Obviously, their intermission had been spent in the gift shop. Would their gift from Cavalia Odysseo be simply the cuddly toys they would eventually outgrow, or would that gift grow into a lifelong love of horses? It is an understatement to say that Cavalia Odysseo creates memories lasting a lifetime.
Gifts sometimes keep on giving. In Michelle Arani’s experience, the gift to her daughter Mitra of tickets to Cavalia’s eponymous first show began a love of horses that took Mitra from collecting model horses, to acquiring first one horse to even more. Today, her family owns a horse farm and a tack store, and their lives revolve around horses.
“Without that experience, who knows what would have happened?” Michelle pondered after attending a performance of Cavalia Odysseo. “It’s thanks to this show that our family has been inspired to make horses a way of life.”
The Best Gift Ever
Who is on your gift list this year? Family and friends, barn mates and trainers, your vet and your farrier, co-workers or employees – the gift of Cavalia Odysseo tickets makes the best gift ever.
There’s a ticket for everyone. The memorable Rendez-Vous package offers the best seats in the house plus a full meal buffet and open bar before the show, desserts during intermission and an exclusive visit to the stables after the show. Other seats higher in the stands offer a panoramic view of the enormous stage and a unique perspective on the large group scenes where the birds-eye view reveals the complex choreography. Every seat under the White Big Top has a unique view of this magical show.
Gift shopping online at www.cavalia.com comes in handy for shoppers as well. Everything you see in the boutique under the White Big Top is also available online. From music and books, to apparel, to jewelry and more, there’s something for everyone on your gift list. The convenience of shopping online from your home (or tack room) is only enhanced by home delivery.
Holiday office gatherings are feeling the pinch of December scheduling challenges these days, so savvy organizers may want to consider both the December and the January dates for Cavalia Odysseo as a perfect holiday outing.
Cavalia Odysseo will call Ventura County home through the holiday season with matinee and evening performances scheduled until January. Tickets can be purchased online at www.cavalia.com or by calling 1-866-999-8111.
Don’t miss a show of a lifetime and prepare to be wowed!