‘Odysseo’: A stunningly beautiful trip

Elise Verdoncq (center) is seen with some of the 65 horses and 48 artists of ‘ODYSSEO,’ the latest show from the internationally acclaimed entertainment company Cavalia. Performances continue through Oct. 16 in San Jose.Photo: Dan Harper 

Normand Latourelle and Cavalia have brought his $30 million stunning production Odysseo to San Jose. For those who said last year that San Francisco that it was too long a drive to see a spectacular piece of theater, I suggest you run, don’t walk, for an unforgettable event that is now in your own backyard.

You will be exposed to an experience you have never seen before. The creative intelligence of Latourelle brings a combination of 65 superbly trained horses (11 breeds), handlers, trick riders, acrobats, musicians and changing scenery on a 17,500-foot stage (as wide as a football field) filled with 25,000 tons of sand inside a 125-foot tall with a specially designed white big top. Add to this a 50-foot backstage warming up area; four fully equipped tents that serve as upscale stables; a pool with 40,000 gallons of water and a waterfall to create the unbelievable finale, and you will know you have had one of the great experiences of your life.

The intricate training and horsemanship will linger in the mind long after the performance is over. The dressage routines are done to perfection. They seem simple, but indeed they are not. Hours of effort and patience are required to create this kind of perfection. Just looking at these equine giants, no matter what they are doing, is a glimpse into another dimension of ultimate beauty.

The remarkable cast of 65 male horses go through their routines emitting a wonderful feeling of warmth for their handlers. The trainers show a care and affection in return for their charges. Nothing is forced—there is a relationship between man/woman and animal that is not often seen in the performing arena. Mutual respect is evident and the human/equine bond is captivating.

A carousal floats from the ceiling to incorporate ballet and balance; a horse whisperer enters with nine stunning Arabians that perform a liberty routine. The raising of a finger, a whisper or a head gesture moves this group into a choreographed routine that’s more than delightful.

A West African group of tireless tumblers keeps up the momentum.

A group of talented musicians and a singer deliver an original score against a huge wide screen that projects mountains and backdrops to fit the scene with a melding of acrobats, aerial ballet, Roman post riding, and every other kind of riding with the four-legged counterparts that bring us to feelings of awe at something we have never witnessed before.
Odysseo is a panorama of serendipitous beauty and imagination. It contains images that will stay with you until it returns and you will probably rush to see it again. I did.


Created by Normand Latourelle and Cavalia

Performances through Oct. 16

Under the white big top off Hwy. 87 at Julian St. exit; parking at 399 W Julian St, San Jose

Tickets: $29.50-$264.50. Special VIP Packages available
Information and reservations: (866) 999-8111 or visit www.cavalia.net

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