Cavalia is an enchanting performance that will leave you breathless

Cavalia is an enchanting performance that will leave you breathless

A spectacle of beauty, power and elegance, it is a celebration of horses as living art

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Cavalia sees performers flying through the air.
Cavalia sees performers flying through the air.
Photo: Felix Wong/SCMP

Everyone is talking about Cavalia. It seems the city is divided into those who have seen it and those who are going to see it. So, on opening night, Young Post joined the eager throngs that packed into the big white tent next to the Ferris wheel on the Central waterfront.

When the curtain lifted for the first act, the entire audience gasped as two white horses trotted on stage by themselves. They were soon joined by humans showing off their acrobatic strength and giving an appetiser of the amazing acts to follow.

For the first time in Hong Kong, horses, acrobats and multi-media technology unite to create a spectacular event. It's not dressage, it's not racing, and it's not so much circus as theatre.

Cavalia rider Fairland Ferguson shows off her moves.

Cavalia features 40 horses and 40 riders, along with aerialists, acrobats, dancers and musicians from all around the world. It's the brain-child of Normand Latourelle, one of the founders of the original Canadian circus spectacular - Cirque du Soleil.

Cirque has always been all about not having animals performing in a circus, and so it was one of things Young Post asked the tour director about. "Horses are domestic animals," says Mattheius Latourelle, Normand's son. "It was a natural progression to see this kind artistic show include horses."

Indeed, as Latourelle points out, horses have been in man's consciousness for thousands of years. They appear as subjects of painting, sculptures and photography that hope to capture a glimpse of their power and elegance. For centuries, man has tried to dominate and restrain that power for his own good, for transport, industry and war.

But some people believe horses are exquisite creatures that, in partnership with the right people, can make artistic magic.

From the dish-faced Arabs to the Roman-nosed Comtois, the fiery and theatrical Spanish breeds with their uber-long manes, to the flashy appaloosas and spring-stepped quarter horses, Cavalia is a feast for the horse lover and for those who otherwise would have no interest in horses.

And just like any show featuring live acts and live animals, not everything went without a hitch. There were failed tricks and a few falls. But these imperfections just added to the show's overall appeal, as it proved just how dangerous and difficult such a show can be, and how talented the acrobats, handlers and, of course, the horses are.

Cavalia runs until May 10

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Cavalia leaves us breathless

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