I love horses. And Cirque du Soleil. So when I heard Cavalia, the “Magical Encounter Between Human and Horse” was coming to town, I knew this was one show I’d have to see.
It may be new to us in Australia, but Cavalia has been around for almost ten years and has been seen by more than three million people in America and Europe. It even popped up in an episode of American Dad that I saw the other day that had me chuckling away (an episode named Adventures in Hayleysitting, no less. You know how I love an adventure.)
So you can imagine how happy I was when the lovely folk at Cavalia’s official hotel, Fraser Suites, Sydney, invited me along to try one of their Cavalia VIP packages.
After checking into my suite and soaking up the corner views over Sydney, I was joined by my friend Jason and swept away in a car to the Entertainment Quarter, where Cavalia’s signature White Big Top is now in residence.
Just as you can now buy VIP tickets to music festivals, Cavalia VIP tickets are available with backstage passes to meet the horses afterwards. Sure, it may sound a little odd, but after falling in love with them on stage, it really is a treat to meet the stars of the show.
The Cavalia VIP tickets, or Rendez-Vous tickets, which Fraser Suites provided as part of their package, gave us access to the VIP tent where we were told to go to the gift store to pick up a complimentary souvenir (a copy of the programme), and then to help ourselves to the open bar and the hot and cold food in the buffet areas, (and tasty it was too, including asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, and delicious prawns.)
And after being caught out by long toilet queues at some other shows in the EQ, it was also lovely to have our own VIP toilets.
Yes, yes, I hear you say, but what about the actual show?
I know you’ve heard it before, but it really is spectacular. Created by Normand Latourelle, one of the co-founders of Cirque du Soleil, it’s easy to see why it’s so often compared to that other big show under the Grand Chapiteau.
There are times when it’s just humans doing tricks, and I have to admit I didn’t find those times as mind blowing as the Cirque du Soleil shows. But throw in those horses and it’s incredible.
It’s a beautiful thing to see the way they work with the horses, the control they have, and the way they almost dance with them, even when they’re not physically touching them.
One of the other wonderful things about our package was the seats were incredible. We were centre, third row, which is pretty much eye level with the horses, and I really got swept away by them. In fact, my poor friend Jason was a little alarmed when he realised I had tears running down my face at one point.
But you see, watching the relationship between the performers and the horses reminded me of my own beautiful Quarter Horses when I was growing up and how much I loved them. And how much fun it was to just hang out together, riding bareback, or doing fancy footwork (though we couldn’t have quite kept up with the Cavalia lot!).
I may be team Quarter Horse, but it was great to see them joined by so many other breeds on the stage. They have 11 in all, including Spanish Purebreds, Appaloosa, Paint Horses, Arabian, and Warmbloods.
So you can see why I was so happy that our tickets included the chance to go back to the stables after the show.
Two kinds of ticket holders get the chance to do it, the Rendes-Vous VIP ones, like us, and the Horse Lovers tickets (who get the stables visit, but miss out on the food and drink side of the VIP experience and have to wait until the Rendes-Vous have visited the horses).
Now you may have noticed that all of the images up until this point have come from Cavalia themselves. That’s because you should never take photos in Cavalia (or any of the Cirque style shows) as it can be downright dangerous. But photos (without flash) were allowed when we got back to the stables.
As for the horses themselves, some were loving the attention and almost posing for the cameras, while others were just loving their food and oblivious to their fans. I’m told the stables are always put in the same layout and the horses have the same neighbours wherever they go, to make sure they feel at home in each new city.
After visiting each of the horses and continuing to fall in love with some of my favourites, it was time for me to make my way to my own temporary home for the night. Back to the Fraser Suites in Kent Street where I once again drank in the view, then curled up into bed with the city twinkling outside my 40th floor bedroom window.
Love horses? Did you know you can also go behind the scenes in the world’s oldest continuous Mounted Police Unit in Sydney?
Cavalia runs in Sydney until the 16th of June, before opening in Melbourne on the 7th of August.
FraserSuites Cavalia packages start at $473 for two tickets to the show and one night’s accommodation. VIP packages are around $830 for two Rendes-Vous tickets and a deluxe studio.
Amanda Woods attended Cavalia and stayed as a guest of The Fraser Suites, Sydney, but as usual, all views and reviews are her own.