Set for a long ride in Beijing
Despite more than 50 shows in Beijing, Cavalia is still going strong.
Cavalia is the brainchild of Normand Latourelle, who co-founded the Canadian entertainment company Cirque du Soleil. The show is a blend of equestrian stunts and performing arts like acrobatics, paying tribute to the relationship between horses and human beings.
Since its debut in the capital in April, the extravaganza with more than 40 horses and riders — plus aerialists, acrobats, dancers and musicians — has attracted more than 75,000 people, mostly families, according to Sinocap, the Chinese investment firm that brought the show to Beijing.
To celebrate its 50th show in the capital, more than 200 children between 5 to 12 years old joined to set a Guinness World Record by painting a giant Arabian horse on a canvas of 1,200 square meters at Beijing’s Chaoyang Park on June 19.
Comprising three main colors — red, blue and orange — the painting hangs 35 meters above the ground and is an iconic scene at Chaoyang Park, wheretheshowis being staged.
The cooperation between Sinocap and Latourelle’s entertainment company Cavalia Inc was described as “groundbreaking” by both Sinocap’s CEO, Chen Zesheng, and Latourelle when it was announced inMarch.
“The partnership is between Cavalia and Sinocap on the operation and commercialization of the show Cavalia, the company’s original, eponymous production. The agreement will help Cavalia consolidate its position in China, a key market for touring shows,” says Latourelle, an expert with more than 40 years of experience of creating and staging live spectacles.
“The IP (intellectual property) and the assets of the show have been acquired by the joint venture created by Cavalia and Sinocap. The artistic direction of the show is still done by me and my team of creators.”
The idea for Cavalia came around 15 years ago during a different show, when Latourelle noticed that the audience’s attention completely focused on a single horse on the stage rather than the human performers.
So far, Cavalia has toured globally for more than a decade and the shows have been watched by millions.
“Cavalia touches audiences by celebrating the centuriesold relationship between man and horse, mixing acrobatic and equestrian arts like nobody else on the planet. It is the same magic that is presented to Chinese audiences,” says Latourelle.
“The branding is the same, but some additions have been made on the logo for instance, to incorporate the Chinese alphabet and calligraphy and our partnership with Sinocap.”
He also adds that to ensure Cavalia’s success in Beijing, Latourelle’s son and tour manager, Mathieu Latourelle, worked in close collaboration with Sinocap executives and staff on operations, marketing and production.
Chen, a businessman who has a keen interest in stage performances, watched Cavalia for the first time during a vacation with his family in Singapore in 2014. He was fascinated.
Chen then contacted Normand Latourelle and even flew to Montreal, where the company is based, to negotiate about bringing the show to China. He finally met Normand Latourelle in Hong Kong.
“There are a variety of shows in Beijing. But Cavalia is different. That’s why I want it to stay in China. It gives you something powerful, magical and subtle,” Chen says.