Horses pre­pare for star­dom in Bei­jing

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By CHEN­NAN

Nor­mand La­tourelle, co-founder of the Mon­treal-based Cirque du Soleil, has dreamed of com­ing to China since child­hood.

“I once asked my mother: ‘ How can I get to China.’ She said: ‘Dig a hole in the kitchen, and you will be there at the end of it’,” La­tourelle re­calls.

Decades later, he has not just ar­rived in China but also brought his 30 horses, who are the stars of La­tourelle’s brain­child — the mul­ti­me­dia spec­tac­u­lar, Cavalia.

Co­op­er­at­ing with the Chi­nese in­vest­ment com­pany Sinocap, La­tourelle and his team, in­clud­ing his son and tour man­ager, Mathieu La­tourelle, will stage the show in Bei­jing from April 28 to­May 8.

Cavalia is a mix of ac­ro­bat­ics and eques­trian arts, and Chi­nese au­di­ences will en­joy it in a white tent, called the “big top”, that cov­ers more than 2,000 square me­ters and is pitched at a height of 35 me­ters in Bei­jing’s Chaoyang Park.

Dur­ing a re­cent visit to a farm more than 40 kilo­me­ters from down­town Bei­jing where the horses are kept, La­tourelle says that he found the an­i­mals were rest­ing and graz­ing peace­fully there.

Most of the eques­trian team of about 20, in­clud­ing a vet­eri­nar­ian, health tech­ni­cians, grooms and a far­rier, are train­ing the horses on a daily ba­sis. Each horse per­forms for roughly 12 min­utes. The rest of their daily ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude warmups, re­coup­ing, groom­ing, go­ing to the pad­docks out­side and free time.

“The Cavalia ap­proach is based on train­ing meth­ods de­signed to make sure the horses en­joy train­ing as well as per­form­ing on­stage. The horse train­ing is based upon a phi­los­o­phy of un­der­stand­ing the needs, the pref­er­ences and the emo­tions of the four-legged stars,” says La­tourelle, who has 46 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in creat­ing and stag­ing live spec­ta­cles.

Cavalia was born as an idea around 15 years ago to pay trib­ute to the bond be­tween the an­i­mals and peo­ple.

Keith Dupont is one of the riders in the Bei­jing per­for­mance. The Bel­gian joined in Cavalia five years ago and quickly be­came a star in the show due to his gen­tle, pa­tient and ef­fec­tive way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the horses. He is work­ing with six to eight Ara­bian horses.

“I love the horses and the stage. The job is a per­fect com­bi­na­tion for me,” he says. “Each horse has a dif­fer­ent per­son­al­ity. Some are cu­ri­ous, and some are ag­gres­sive.”

La­tourelle says: “Keith com­mu­ni­cates with the horses with soft voice com­mands and body move­ments. He is on the ground, and the horses have no sad­dle, no rope, no bri­dle, noth­ing. It’s a very beau­ti­ful and emo­tional num­ber in the show.”

Chi­nese di­rec­tor-ac­torZhangGuoli at­tended the ticket-sale launch­ing cer­e­mony in Bei­jing onMarch 17. He says he was amazed when he watched the show in Canada.

“I am very ea­ger to watch it again in Bei­jing. It’s a huge op­er­a­tion to bring the show to Bei­jing — for ex­am­ple, there are more than 4,000 tons of sand in the venue.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.