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Odysseo – Behind the Scenes

Be sure to also click to see Part IPart II, and Part III.

As someone who loves photographic storytelling, one of my favorite parts of this experience was getting to go backstage and document the behind the scenes life of the people and horses of Odysseo. The hard work and dedication it takes to put on a production like this is extraordinary.

The number one thing that moved me about getting to know the people behind Odysseo is their passion for the horses. I saw only the highest respect, care and love given to these beautiful creatures. Each rider is paired with a horse (or several horses) that they ride, train, and with whom they create a strong bond.

Yes, the horses work hard and aren’t able to be out grazing in pastures every day when the are performing in the show, but it’s so clear to me that they LOVE their jobs (did you know horses like to have a job and a purpose in their life?). And even better, when they move the show to a new city, Cavalia takes the horses on holiday, renting a farm or two (or more!) and they let the horses just go be horses for three or four weeks. I LOVE THIS! Here’s a link to a video of the arabian horses from Odysseo enjoying their holiday in Florida before the show opens in Miami: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUF5omkA-7k&list=PLB9D0CB1D496ADAF8&index=7

The shows I photographed were their last in Atlanta, so there was a palpable feeling of excitement among the artists about getting to go home, or at least have a break from the daily routine of performing.

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The backstage area is defined by a series of tents and trailers. Most of the artists live off site in apartments, but some live on site.

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When you have a show that features a very wet finale, you have to hang costumes out to dry.

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Wake up sleepyhead!

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This is JD, my friend and primary contact with Cavalia, with Frosty, the horse he loves and is learning to ride.

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Bed head.

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Worse bed head. 😉

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YAAWWWN! Morning horsies!

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I fell in LOVE with this darling horse! Can you see how sweet they are together?

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Feeding time is SO exciting for the horses. The people who work in the barns are a mixture of full-time staff that travels with the show, and local people who are hired in each city.

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Gimmmmeeeee!!!!!

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YES!!!

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Cuddles…

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Once everyone was up and fed, it was time to warm up the horses.

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After warm-ups, it’s time to get clean and shiny!

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These long manes are a lot of work to maintain!

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This woman was trying to clean out the horse’s nose and he was being silly about it. She likened him to a 7 year old boy who doesn’t want his face wiped. 😉

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There was almost always someone snoozing here. Sometimes is was full of snoozers.

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They are incredibly flexible. This makes me want to go and stretch.

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This is the costume Benjamin wears in the final scene I posted photos from yesterday. The level of detail and intricacy in the costuming was remarkable.

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Some last minute instructions to the riders. I don’t speak french (yet!), so I have no idea what he was saying. 🙂

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Because I cannot photograph the musicians during the show, I visited them during sound check. I loved being able to get a peek at their “nest” in the trees.

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I can’t wait for the CD for Odysseo’s music to be released, it was so lyrical and ethereal.

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I had fun playing with the reflections.

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A little self portrait with JD. This was the ramp up to the stage.

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Thank you all of going on this journey with me. I so enjoyed sharing my images and my thoughts with you. This experience was truly one of the best of my life so far, and I want to thank the Cavalia organization for inviting me and trusting me to capture the essence of their art in photographs. It’s truly been a dream come true!

7 Comments

  1. danielle smith

    February 16, 2012

    Thank you so much for sharing! You truly have a beautiful talent from the Lord! All I keep thinking about for you since you have been photographing these shows, is Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart! He truly is a good God! I really want to go see one of these shows!

  2. Verna Pitts

    February 16, 2012

    I have goosebumps………….this is some terrific imagery!

  3. Marian Adoranti

    February 16, 2012

    Ahhhh, for me Shelley this instalment was the best. Your photographs of the show were incredible, but the behind the scenes, the everyday life of the horses and their people are what make it for me. It’s the whole process that leads up to the moment of the show that is so very important. You have such wonderful insight. A true gift. God loves you Shelley. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  4. Dawn Diovera

    February 27, 2012

    Awesome, awesome, awesome!!
    Shirley Puga sent this to me.
    I am reposting on FB and also on my website that has a million views a month – your watermark intact. I will also link your blog directly to this post so readers will click on your link to see more.
    Awesome!
    You have a great way with the camera… very candid and emotional pics. I’d like to interview you at some point (over the phone) for my blog. Would you be interested?

  5. Mercy

    February 28, 2012

    I saw Cavalia when they came to Tampa – it was breathtaking! You have captured the essence in a wonderful pictorial of the incredible amount of work and preparation that goes into putting such an incredible show. Thank You!!

  6. Alexis

    February 28, 2012

    THANK YOU for posting this absolutely glorious photo documentary. I always wanted to run away and join the circus – hopefully, a circus made up entirely of horses and their people. This is the next best thing. ARE YOU GOING TO DO A BOOK????

  7. photo video art

    March 2, 2012

    Wow. Amazing photography. Great series. Especially your session with horses. Great work.

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