When Cirque du Soleil first appeared on the scene, with its emphasis on the art of clowning, acrobatics, juggling, high wire, contortion, sleight-of-hand, and all the other human elements associated with the circus, it was unique and spell-binding. Animal rights activists were especially pleased, since Cirque barred animals from its slate.

Faical Moulid and Iman in The Ball
Faiçal Moulid and Iman in "The Ball"
Even when one of Cirque's co-founders, Gilles Ste-Croix, left to start his own show, Cheval Theatre, we loyally attended a few years back and were quite impressed with the talent and grandeur of our equestrian friends and the simpatico between them and their human caretakers and trainers. Especially noteworthy were the acrobats that lept and flipped from horse to horse.

So, it was with great anticipation and curiosity that we awaited Cavalia, by Normand Latourelle, also a co-founder of Cirque. Unfortunately, we cannot say that we were impressed by more than a couple of acts. What few acrobatics that were attempted on horseback were not performed up to snuff and those that were performed in the air and on the ground were pedestrian compared with what we normally see at a Cirque performance.

Sylvia Zerbini and friends in Grande Liberte
Sylvia Zerbini and friends in "Grande Liberté"
There were a few exceptions worth noting, including: Marianella Michaud's "The Discovery," an evocative and refined foray into the mythological connection of humans and horses; and Sylvia Zerbini's "Grande Liberté," in which she directs 9 white horses in intricate patterns.

The lighting and scenery effects, as well as the music are as captivating as one has come to expect from Cirque and Cirque-inspired productions.

Cavalia runs through October 24th under the white big top in the Pepsi Center parking lot. Tickets run from $54.50 to $99.50. 1-866-999-8111 or

Bob Bows


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