Cavalia wows Brisbane audiences as season extended

The international touring show makes its Australian debut in Brisbane.
The international touring show makes its Australian debut in Brisbane. Seanna Cronin

THE spotlight shines on a performer who, with his head held high, moves his legs perfectly in time with the music.

But this is no ordinary dancer. He is a horse, and he's performing in no ordinary show.

Cavalia has just extended its premiere Brisbane season, again, to April 7 and after seeing the show last night it's easy to see why.

Demand for tickets is high as this world-renowned production has finally made its way to Australia.

Combining the talents of 36 world-class acrobatics, high-flying aerialists and musicians with a cast of 44 horses, Cavalia is the brainchild of Cirque Du Soleil co-founder Normand Latourelle.

The two-hour show is a feast for the eyes.

At times I don't know where to look as aerialists fly through the air on wires and elastic bands and trainers ride their horses below, all while a live band performs behind a transparent backdrop and the troupe of Moroccan acrobats jump and flip like their legs are made of springs.

The international touring show makes its Australian debut in Brisbane.
The international touring show makes its Australian debut in Brisbane. Seanna Cronin

It's hard to compare Cavalia to anything else.

Some scenes are funny, thanks to the performers and the horses' sometimes unexpected behavior, while others are touching pieces of artistry.

But the most captivating scenes for me were the ones where the horses were performing freely, not fitted with a saddle or bridle.

It also gives you a chance to appreciate the special bond the trainers have with their horses.

Rather than giving direct physical commands via reins or a stick, the trainer simply uses a small gesture or soft vocal command to get the horses to run, stop and even spin around in unison.

If you have ever ridden horses, then you will have a special appreciation for the trick riding and dressage sequences. I still cannot fathom how none of the cast have broken their necks yet.

Backing up all of this amazing talent, both human and equestrian, are some stellar production values.

A shallow pond that was in the middle of the arena one minute is gone the next, and thanks to the large-scale projections on the backdrops the scenes and the mood change instantly.

It even rains, but I don't want to spoil the whole show so I'll leave it there.

Cavalia celebrates the beauty of the horse and the amazing feats of modern acrobats, and it showcases both very well indeed.

Cavalia: A Magical Encounter Between Human and Horse runs through April 7 under the Big White Top behind the Brisbane Airport DFO. Tickets start from $39.

To book go to the Cavalia website or call 1800 765 955.

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