Set for a long ride in Bei­jing

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By CHEN­NAN

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.

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