Cavalia’s ‘Odysseo’ Horse Show Brings Out the 10-Year-Old in All of Us


Cavalia’s “Odysseo,” the Cirque du Soleil-style touring show with horses, aims to evoke in every audience member the feeling that a 10-year-old girl might get while reading a fantasy novel titled “Alexandra and the Seven Kingdoms of Equus.”

It’s ravishingly romantic, with highly skilled performers in exotic flowing capes parading on horseback through an artificial landscape that evokes the natural beauty of every corner of the Earth.

But underneath the razzle-dazzle of the giant video screen and the live world-beat band — not to mention engineering feats such as the magical appearance of a miniature lake onstage — “Odysseo” is still a circus at its heart, built on the logic of the topper: Every wow must be followed by an even bigger wow.

Candidly, the aerial stunt work isn’t quite as spectacular or as inventive as the best Cirque du Soleil shows, with the exception of a gorgeous silk routine that uses riders to propel the acrobats to dizzyingly twirling heights. But a troupe of muscular, shirtless tumblers from Guineau puts on a display of athleticism paired with jumping horses that’s truly awe-inspiring.

You’ll also see plenty of Roman riding, with queen-like trainers perched atop a pair of steeds and some gasp-inducing tricks with riders whipsawing around the body of a horse in full gallop.

In the finale, an intricately choreographed dressage routine slips into the insta-lake to beautiful balletic effect. The acrobatics may be somewhat second fiddle here, but that’s because everyone knows what the main attraction is, and “Odysseo” delivers equine magic magnificently.

The multimedia production is evocative, especially in an African drumming sequence in which a backdrop of dry savannah morphs into the green of the wet season and, finally, into a wintry landscape that introduces a mini-herd of white prancers.

Even if you can’t tell a trot from a canter, it’s hard to resist the breathtaking charms of Cavalia’s 70 four-legged superstars.