The Montreal-based spectacle concern, Cavalia, derives from a schism of sorts within the vastly successful Cirque du Soleil. Whereas the latter favors moments of incredible athleticism and contortion rather loosely bound to whimsical narrative, Cavalia is about very coherent fusion of dynamic instances to reveal an earthy cumulative wellspring. The performing horses constituting its most direct element are, in fact, only the most readily comprehended calling card for a multi-media cyclotron carrying us to depths of the sensual avant-garde.
The photo above entails bat-out-of-hell thundering motion, a human figure playing in concert with such dash; and the developmental elements of darkness, focused light and water.
On a stage capable of powerfully evoking steppes, sea shores. the primeval African desert, the American South-West and other planets, those bundles of supernal energy race toward us as a palpable introduction to a cosmos essentially sensual and juxtaposing with a planet essentially intellectual. An IMAX set-up ramps up the veer to delirium and poise.
Mounts, riders and an unknown planet (unknowable, as long as you’re conventionally law-abiding). The elements of this disclosure quietened to display the variable pace of the uprising. (Though having very little exposure in the company’s promotions, a significant portion of the theatre on tap consists of African dancers, gymnasts and musicians. Their feats of energy are not only dazzling and closely linked to those of the steeds; but they are also witty, giving us another possibility within the aura of that pace-setter, Stanley Kubrick.
There is a subtle thrum apropos of 2001: Space Odyssey. The sizzling horsepower has its Blue Danube chapter, where all is gorgeously elegant and at the same time abysmal, apocalyptic. Punchy rock and blousy flamenco are pumped out by a very capable band.
When you live by horsepower you must play by horsepower for all it’s worth, which is to say, an infinity of variations playing with that fire without which there is deadness.
It is impossible to fully convey the kinetic heart of this production in a written piece illustrated by still photography. But this very stylized shot covers quite well cantering horses securing and cueing figures, each clinging to a rope linked to the ceiling. The transference and chording between the women in the sky and those sources of primal energy on the ground is worthy of the zone of great illuminative art.
This could be taken as sheer show-offy stunt riding, the likes of which have graced horse shows going way back when. But in the context of the Norman Latournelle production on hand we have an evocation of a rider seizing a moment to be carried along by a primal initiative in relation to which the rider is instrumental and forward-looking; but to a most pristine degree.
Jockey Club 1972;Bernard Villemot;15″ x 11″; A,L
That was a tough act to follow! Graphic art, particularly vintage poster art, particularly the vintage poster art of Bernard Villemot, can somewhat allude to the uncanniness of pounding horses pounding ahead. Particularly the stark (A-bomb-like) flash of white lightning here lights both thrilling and deadly presences of primal energy.
Lotteria di Merano 1955;Leon Garu;13 3/4″ x9 3/4″; A, cdbd
There is about the flat color expanses and outer-space context, and also the fit of rider and mount, a recognition which brings home to us that the banal money-grab of everyday life has a more telling dimension–one that we tend to disregard as extraneous to the affairs of “real life.”
Here the art-deco exaggeration of the rendering of the horses seeks to impress upon us that this is far from still-life!
More about Cavalia: http://www.cavalia.net/en/odysseo