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Cavalia Inc.
Private company
Industry Entertainment
Founded 2003 (as Voltige)
Founder Normand Latourelle
Headquarters Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Area served
Key people
Normand Latourelle
Dominique Day
Number of employees

Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Cavalia Inc. is an entertainment company that specializes in the creation, production and touring of shows for audiences of all ages. Founded by Normand Latourelle, the company has an expertise in equestrian and performing arts, and is known for making the most of cutting-edge technology, multimedia and special effects, which allows for the creation of magical, unique, never-before-seen[citation needed] theatrical experiences that presents large-scale equestrian and performing arts productions. Its shows display equestrian and acrobatic techniques such as Trick Riding, Vaulting, Haute École, Pas De Deux, and unbridled displays. Cavalia has produced two shows up to now: Cavalia: A Magical Encounter Between Human and Horse, and Odysseo.

Name origin[edit]

Cavalia is a fabricated word, inspired by the Spanish and French words for horse (caballo and cheval) and the English word cavalry. Normand Latourelle often says he'd love to open a dictionary some day and see "Cavalia" defining his multimedia production about the historical relationship between humans and horses.


Created in 2003 by Normand Latourelle under the name of "Voltige",[1] the very first show was held in Shawinigan, Quebec. The large-scale multimedia performance the company delivers is often compared to Cirque du Soleil, of which he was one of the four original co-founders as well as Managing Director and Executive Vice-President from 1985 to 1990. Apart from Latourelle's history, Cavalia has no affiliation with Cirque du Soleil and remains a separate entity. The company's original production, Cavalia: A Magical Encounter Between Human and Horse, has been touring since 2003 and has reached over 4 Million spectators across North America, Europe and Australia through more than 2,200 performances (as of September 2013).[2] Odysseo, Cavalia's newest show, premiered in October 2011 in Laval, Quebec.

In May 2009, the Government of Canada provided Cavalia with a $4-million loan to Cavalia Inc. to develop new productions and construct a horse-training facility in Sutton, Quebec.[3]

First Production: Cavalia, A Magical Encounter Between Human and Horse[edit]

The first show is a tribute to the relationship between humans and horses throughout history, delivering a fresh mix of equestrian and performing arts, multimedia and special effects. Often labelled an equestrian ballet, it expresses a dream of freedom, cooperation and harmony.[4] Riders, acrobats, dancers and musicians share the stage with horses. A Magical Encounter Between Human and Horse features about 50 horses, 5 musicians and 45 artists including riders, aerialists, acrobats, dancers from all over the world.[2]

Cavalia mirror.jpg

Cavalia's Key Players[edit]

Cavalia's performance is a multimedia production based on various light and sound techniques as well as performing arts. These are the main creators that contributed to designing the show:

  • Latourelle: President and Artistic Director
  • Benjamin Aillaud: Equestrian Director and Choreographer
  • Erick Villeneuve: Director and Visual Designer
  • Alain Lortie: Lighting Designer
  • Desmarais: Costume Designer
  • Marc Labelle: Designer
  • Alain Gauthier: Choreographer and Staging Artistic Coordinator
  • Michel Cusson: Music [5]

The Equine Performers[edit]

Drawing on a tradition that stretches back to Lord Astley in the 1700s, Circus as we know it was defined and developed by the Horse Exhibition. The stars of the show are the horses, all of them either stallions or geldings. (There are no mares). Many of the horses are Lusitanos, and the remainder are Andalusian (PRE), Canadian Horses, American Quarter Horses, Paint horses, Belgians, Percherons, Arabians, and Appaloosa. The show's horses were originally from Canada, France, Spain, and the United States.[6] These horses eat 40 bales of hay per day; they consume 900 kg (1980 lb) of grain and 20 kg (44 lb) of carrots each week. Many of the horses have their manes braided when not performing, and Templado's knee-length mane takes 90 minutes to complete.[7] The horses are maintained by a team of 20 people, including a stables manager, two veterinary technicians, a farrier, and several groomers.

The horses are only asked to practise one hour each day, and they get two hours each day for play. The whole performance is 2 hours and 30 minutes per show, 7-8 times each week, and the horses are trained to understudy for each other so that different horses can be given the day off.

The Human Performers[edit]

The show also features over 20 human stars from Canada, and also from France, Kyrgyzstan, United States, Australia, Mexico, and Morocco.

The Big Top and Village[edit]

The show is performed in what was once the largest tent in North America, a 2440 m² (26,300 ft²) big top, and takes 40 people 12 days to erect and 7 days to dismantle. The stable adds on another 1070 m² (11,500 ft²), and it takes 45 trucks to move the whole show. The 46 m (150 ft) wide stage takes 1500 tons of sand to complete.[8]

About the White Big Top[edit]

  • 150 people work for the tent raising and site preparation.
  • The installation lasts 12 days, while the removal is completed in three days.
  • The tent is 30 metres high, the equivalent height of a 10-storey building.
  • 6635 m2 of fabric is used to create the marquee that extends over an area of 2 440m2.
  • A screen of 70 metres serves as a backdrop for projections and multimedia effects.
  • The stage is 50 metres in width, the length of an Olympic pool.
  • 2,500 tons of sand, earth and gravel, the equivalent of 100 trucks, are used to create the scene.
  • The Big Top can accommodate up to 2 000 spectators.

Cavalia’s village includes nine tents[edit]

  • the White Big Top,
  • the Rendezvous VIP Tent,
  • the Entrance Tents,
  • two Artistic Tents,
  • two Warming Tents,
  • the Stable and
  • the Staff Cafeteria.[9]

Second Production: Odysseo[edit]

Odysseo Les Voyageurs.jpg
Acrobat Troup Odysseo.jpg

Odysseo was launched in 2011 and has been enjoyed by more than 900 000 spectators.[10] In this second production by Cavalia, "horses and humans leave together to meet a world between dream and reality by traveling through the great wonders that nature has offered, deserts, waterfalls, canyons and glaciers."[11] This second show portrays equestrian arts, acrobatics, music, multimedia projections and special effects under one Big Top. It features some 300 different costumes.[12]

Odysseo's Key Players[edit]

Odysseo borrows from several different performance arts and techniques. The following are the principal creators from various disciplines who contributed to designing the show:

  • Normand Latourelle: President and Artistic Director
  • Wayne Fowkes: Director
  • Benjamin Aillaud: Equestrian Direction and Choreography
  • Guillaume Lord: Set Design
  • Geodezik: Visual Design
  • Alain Lortie: Lighting Design
  • George Lévesque and Michèle Hamel: Costumes
  • Darren Charles and Alain Gauthier: choreography
  • Mathieu Roy and Elsie Morin : Acrobatic Number Conception[13]

The Big Top[edit]

The Big Top in Edmonton (2012)

Like the first production's Big Top, Odysseo's tent was designed specifically for the needs of the show and the vision of its creators. It is two and a quarter times bigger than the first one and is (as of September 2013) the largest touring tent in the world.[14]

The exterior[edit]

  • consists of four poles, four arches and 2.1 square miles of canvas;
  • is 38 meters high;
  • the structure measures 115 metres long and 65 metres wide;
  • it occupies a surface area which extends over 120 metres in length and 95 metres wide.[15]

The interior[edit]

Odysseo Bleachers.jpg
  • hosts a scene of more than 2500 square metres;
  • is composed of 6,000 tons of rock, earth and sand;
  • has a seating capacity of 2290 people.[16]

Assembly and transport[edit]

  • Installation requires 40 motors and a mechanical crane;
  • Each arch is composed of eight 9-meter-long sections.
  • The arches rise to 27 meters and are 62 meters long;
  • the painting is composed of 16 pieces;
  • 1310 piles and anchor points are used;
  • 166 posts are required to assemble the walls of the tower;
  • wiring has a length of 5.8 km;
  • It takes 20 trucks to transport the tent.[17][18]

Touring history[edit]

With its eponymous show, Cavalia has toured around the world and performed in the following cities:


  • Shawinigan, Québec (World Premiere)
  • Toronto, Ontario


  • Montréal, Québec
  • San Francisco, California
  • Glendale, California
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Berkeley (San Francisco), California
  • San Diego (Del Mar), California


  • Santa Monica, California
  • Phoenix (Scottsdale), Arizona
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Montréal, Québec
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Washington, DC


  • Houston, Texas
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Laval (Montréal), Québec
  • Québec City, Québec
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Irvine, California


  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Düsseldorf, Germany
Ticket, Spain, 2008.


  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Bilbao, Spain
  • Knokke, Belgium
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Valencia, Spain


  • Scottsdale (Phoenix), USA
  • Montréal, Canada
  • Chicago, USA
  • Washington, DC, USA
  • Atlanta, USA
The Cavalia show in Downtown Miami, Florida, 2010.


  • Miami, USA
  • Tampa, USA
  • Charlotte, USA
  • New York, USA
  • Brossard (Montréal), Canada
  • Denver, USA
  • San Francisco, USA
  • Burbank, CA, USA


  • Vancouver, Canada
  • Calgary, Canada
  • Québec City, Canada
  • Minneapolis, USA
  • Portland, OR, USA


  • Seattle, USA
  • St. Louis, USA
  • Mexico City, México
  • San Jose, USA
  • Edmonton, Canada
  • San Diego, USA


  • Brisbane, Australia
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Adelaide, Australia
  • Perth, Australia



  • Taipei, Taiwan
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong

With its second production, Odysseo, the company has toured in North America, visiting:[citation needed]


  • Montreal, Canada (World Premiere)
  • Atlanta, USA


  • Miami, USA
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Monterrey, México
  • Scottsdale, USA


  • Burbank, CA, USA
  • Somerville (Boston), MA, USA
  • Washington, USA


  • Vancouver, B.-C., Canada
  • Seattle, WA, USA
  • Calgary, AB, Canada
  • Edmonton, AB, Canada
  • Denver, CO, USA
  • Mexico, DF, Mexico


  • Dallas, TX, USA
  • Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Montréal, QC, Canada



  1. ^ Cavalia, A Dream of Freedom, François Broussseau and Valérie Martin, translated by Waguih Khoury, 2004, ISBN 1-897092-01-6, p.20
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ "Cavalia gets a $4-million jump on new production". Montreal Gazette (Canwest). 2009-05-26. Archived from the original on 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ List of horses, beginning alphabetically
  8. ^ Cavalia, A Dream of Freedom, François Brousseau and Valérie Martin, translated by Waguih Khoury, 2004, p.62
  9. ^ `
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^

External links[edit]