Friday, September 21, 2007

Cavalia - 19/09/2007@Tours et Taxis, Bruxelles

You know how during Olympic Games, it's easy to become totally engrossed with sports that will never even enter your mind again for the next four years? Curling, archery, modern biathlon, female wrestling, synchronised swimming. Those hours spent watching dressage finally came to some use at Cavalia, a Cirque du Soleil meets 64 horses spectacle (why is it that all these things come from Canada?).

Inside a semi-circle roughly the width of half a football field, all different kinds of horses ran around, pranced, bowed, shuffled, reared, had people jumping on and swinging around on their backs and one person riding two (and even four!) at once. There were acrobats, too (some of the horse-riders doubled up), so sometimes the horses were mere scenery to acrobatics. There were Mists of Avalon/Lord of the Rings Elvish aristocracy moments and more athletic ones. A live band played behind a scrim, appearing and disappearing through clever use of lighting effects. I'm not a horse person at all, but it was all very beautiful (and expensive; I highly recommend not buying any drinks and trying to swing a last-minute two-for-the-price-of-one deal, as we did).

The white-robed, long-haired and bare-footed leader Frédéric Pignon swanned around and smiled beatifically, seeming not to do very much, but clearly possessed of powers beyond the comprehension of mere mortals. Kind of like pre-Attack of the Clones Yoda.

The most moving moment for me, though, came right at the beginning, when one, then two, then a small herd of horses ran around, totally on their own. Something about watching them be obedient doing fairly simple things in this semi-wild state was infinitely more powerful than having someone guide them through complex and unnatural cross-legged moves.