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Residents Invited to Experience Utah Premiere of Elaborate Horse Show

May 05, 2016 12:00PM ● Published by Kelly Cannon

By Kelly Cannon | kelly@mycityjournals.com

Cottonwood Heights - Part horse show, part live theater, part Cirque du Soleil and part concert, Cavalia presents Odysseo in its Utah premiere performance in Sandy. Opening April 14, this elaborate show is a multi-media experience staring 65 horses and 48 riders, acrobats, dancers and musicians. The show will take place under the White Big Top at South Towne Center. Valued at $30 million, Odysseo is the largest touring company in the world. 

The show began its tour in 2011 in Montreal. Since then, more than 1.8 million spectators in Canada, the United States, and Mexico have seen the show.

Cavalia describes the Odysseo as a show unlike any other on the planet. 

“These magnificent animals play in complicity and with freedom, in a respectful relationship with the riders, acrobats, and aerialists, charming and fascinating everyone who has the chance to witness this moving artistic and emotive partnership,” according to a press release from Cavalia. 

Benoit Fontaine, logistics director, explained the tent used is the biggest big top tent in the world made special out of Italy. 

“The surface of the big top is 60,000 square feet, about the same size as a NFL football field,” Fontaine said. 

The tent can hold 2,000 people at a time. Sixty employees fly in to each location to help with the set up and 110 trucks hall the equipment, not including the horse transportation. 

Marie-Pierre Ouellet has been the equestrian back stage manager since 2012. Prior to this job, she had no horse experience. Now, she manages a team of 12 employees who help make sure the horses are taken care of at the stables. All 75 horses are male. Cowboy and Mikko are two of the horses.

“These two operate as a team and are very fond of each other,” Ouellet said. “These two exhibit the strength of this bond more than others. If separate, they will cry for each other.”

Ouellet explained the horses don’t like to be alone. When they retire, they are adopted out together. 

Rachel Karabenick is one of the aerialists in the show. She said she was a regular girl with a regular desk job five years ago when she hear about aerial performing. After joining various circuses, she was able to quit her desk job “because I had enough work in the circus.”

Karabenick said she was hesitant to work with Odysseo because she had no experience with horses, being raised in Chicago. Now she feels fully comfortable around them, even riding one during the show. 

Parts of the performance include a state-of-the-art video screen three times the size of the world’s largest cinema screens, a three-story mountain for added perspectives and a real lake made of 40,000 gallons of recycled water which appears for the finale. 

Spectators should pay special attention to the music in the show. The music is performed by a singer and five members of the band. Unlike traditional shows where the band sets the pace for the music, the horses instead set the pace. The band leader watches the horses steps, timing the beat to the music to match the horse’s trots. 

Presale tickets are already available and are priced from $39.50 to $129.50 plus applicable fees. A Rendez-Vous package is also available which offers the best seats in the house, a dinner before the show, an open bar, desserts during intermission and an exclusive visit to the stables after the show. This VIP experience takes place in a tent alongside the White Big Top. The Rendez-Vous package prices range from $159.50 to $249.50 plus applicable fees. 

Special pricing and packages are also available for families, groups, children ages two to 12 years old, juniors from 13 to 17 years old and seniors 65 years old and above. 

Tickets are available at www.cavalia.net or by calling 1-866-999-8111.  

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