€Cavalia€ Features Equestrian Skills and Entertainment

Edith Billups | 9/30/2009, 7:10 p.m.

€Cavalia,€ the international touring show created by Cirque Du Soleil founder Normand Latourelle, has extended its stay through Oct. 11 at Pentagon City and is a must see.

Featuring more than 60 magnificent stallions and geldings and 35 acrobats and aerialists, the show is a first-class, high-tech, production that will delight both old and young. Humorous, breathtaking, and thoroughly engaging, the show is a testament to the bond that can be created between animals and man when the four-legged creatures are treated with love and respect.

Combining dazzling aerobatic and equestrian disciplines, €Cavalia€ features 12 breeds of horses, ranging from Lusitanos and Pure Spanish Breeds to Quarterhorses and Paints. Audience goers are treated to impressive displays of dressage at liberty, Haute Ecole and spirited Trick Riding. But, not before being treated with a heart-tugging opening farm scene of a baby horse being born.

Latourelle traveled the world to find experts whose equestrian knowledge would fit with his artistic knowledge of large scale productions, and husband and wife team Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado impressively round out the team.

Delgado grew up on a Lusitano breeding farm in the South of France and was a reputed dressage rider with a specialty in Haute Ecole. Pignon grew up in western France in a family that was passionate about animals and nature. They both preach patience, trust and total respect for the horse.

The result is a show that features precision timing and excellent horsemanship by humans and animals alike. In one scene, two elegantly gowned women ride beautiful white horses with gorgeous, flowing manes. Both the women and horses perfectly €mirror€ each other€s moves, down to the smallest detail.

In a spirited Trick Riding scene, one rider stands atop two horses while leading two others as well. Scenes reminiscent of a wild west rodeo, dazzle the audience as riders easily ride backwards, side saddle and even upside down, flying by like speeding bullets.

€Cavalia€ has all the spectacle of a Cirque DuSoleil performance, so look for dazzling costumes and special effects. A 210-foot wide screen serves as a backdrop for the projections and special effects that include falling snow, a €curtain€ of rain, and gorgeous white stallions that seem to tower 50 feet tall, as they magnificently weave in and out. A constantly changing background shifts from a tree-covered forest to images of ancient warriors.

Neatly framing the package is a group of talented acrobats and aerialists and a five piece live house band that keeps the music shifting to fit the mood. Performers dive from dizzying heights, while beautiful females float above the ground in a spectacular aerial ballet. Acrobats perform triple somersaults and gravity-defying moves while humorously interacting with horses and riders.

The icing on the cake is a visit to the stables after the performance to see the horses that perform in the show, learn their names and watch as their flowing manes get braided to keep them neat and tidy. For tickets, visit, www.cavalia.net.