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Odysseo, Cavalia’s New Adventure – Part 1

Be sure to also click to see Part II, Part III, and Behind the Scenes.

One Friday in late January, I got the call that my heart had been hoping for – the Cavalia organization was inviting me to Atlanta to photograph their new show, Odysseo. I had seen glimpses of this new show on the web site, and wanted wholeheartedly to have an opportunity to photograph it. When I heard the voicemail, I literally squealed and did a happy dance. This is not normal behavior for me, but there was just no playing cool when something I had dreamed about was about to come true!

If you’re not a regular reader of my blog, and have no idea what Cavalia is and how I got to this point, here are some posts to catch you up!

Cavalia in Minneapolis!

Photos from Cavalia…or “Dreams Do Come True”

More Photos from Cavalia

A week after that phone call, I was on a plane to Atlanta. My first night was set aside to just let me experience the show. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, smiling, laughing, crying and saying things like “no way,” and “they did not” out. loud. By the end of the show, my face hurt and I felt so ready to photograph what I had just seen. The feeling I was left with, even hours later, was intense JOY. My heart felt like it was overflowing with that feeling the whole weekend.

The next day, I was able to spend a leisurely morning at the very nice hotel they booked for me. Cavalia is a WONDERFUL organization, I really can’t say enough about how well I was treated by every single person I came in contact with! When I arrived at the site, I was able to spend several hours documenting “behind the scenes” and see all that goes into putting on a show like this. I would have three opportunities to photograph the show in total – Saturday matinee, evening and Sunday matinee. I am going to mingle photographs from all three shows together, but show them in three parts in order to not bombard you with too many photos. I did more photography behind the scenes again on Sunday, and will be sharing those images as part four.

From their web site (because they say it better than I can!): “This new production is above all a celebration of the beauty and harmony of the meeting of two worlds: those of horse and man. As friends, partners and inseparable artists on stage, Man and Horse lead us on a journey to a third world: a world of dreams.” What I find very interesting is that after each Cavalia show I watched or photographed last fall, I had vivid dreams about running free with horses. During the first show in the scene depicted above, I felt like I was back in one of those dreams. I have a strong feeling that I actually dreamed about this show before I saw it.

One of the biggest differences with Odysseo versus Cavalia is the size of the stage and the number of people and horses in the show. The stage alone covers 27,000 square feet and features a mountain and as much screen space as an IMAX theatre. The tent that holds all of this is THE biggest big top in the world.

Before I lose you with words, let me dive into the photos. 🙂

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The show opened with horses loose on the stage. They went right into play and grooming one another.

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Then slowly, several of the artists joined them on stage. This little appaloosa horse and I became friends backstage. He’s a good kisser. 😉

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I love this guy’s smile!

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These guys have a great story! One of them auditioned for the new show, but brought a DVD of his brothers and cousins back in Africa who are also acrobats. They were supposed to only take five of them, but ended up taking ten. The youngest is only 16! They added a lot of fun and flavor to the show.

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These guys have killllller abs!

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I think I need a pair of these springs the artists use to jump up high! I’m sure they are harder to use than they look!

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This horse caught my eye right when he hit the stage. A gorgeous, confident Oldenburg, he has the charisma it takes to be a part of something like this!

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Look ma, no springs!!

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Benjamin Aillaud is the equestrian director of the show, and one of the most gifted horseman I’ve ever seen. I was in awe every time I would see him with horses.

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I was so excited to see these grey arabian horses hit the stage. Breathtaking!

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Look at that smile! He’s so proud of these horses!

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I love that long mane!

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Candy colors. 🙂

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Yes, a carousel came out of the ceiling. See why this show is like a dream?

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All the music for the show is live. She had an amazing voice!

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Come back tomorrow for part two!

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