Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Under the Big Top ...Or 8

“Breathtaking” - O’ Magazine

Well it will certainly take your breath as you are hit with the smell of stables walking in – and it will certainly hit your wallet too. Let’s start with your $48 - $200 ticket. Then throw in a $15 program. As you’re rethinking your brilliant idea to bring the kiddi pops – their going to want one of those $20 stuffed horses and a $6 pretzel at the concessions under the eight-tent Big-Top. But this show it’s absolutely worth it.

I pulled in an hour before curtain call (had the wrong time in my all powerful G-calendar) so rather than tempt myself with all the equestrian chochkies, I headed across the street to Costco for the new Dan Brown book and an alternative to the $20 dinner at the overpriced concessions.

I have to say, upon returning I found myself nearly front row – and that was the beginning of an evening that exceeded my expectations. I have seen several Circe shows and have always been obsessed with our other four-legged best friends so the opportunity to see Cavalia, as it made it’s second tour through DC, was extremely attractive. But let’s be honest, how much can be done with a horse - I really wasn’t expecting to be blown away. It’s not like horses themselves are going to be flying on the trapezes. Watching someone else ride a horse really isn’t that entertaining. This was BEYOND expectations. I’ll say it again, IT WAS AWESOME.

Before the show starts, I hear over my shoulder nervous first date conversations mixed in with a husband recapping the new window replacement options he was quoted today. What was missing were the kiddy giggles and cheers of the usual circus crowd. Although the show was family friendly – it seemed as though everyone dialed the babysitters club tonight. One thing is for sure – it doesn’t matter who you are – if you love horses – you HAVE to see this show!

Aside from the slightly disturbing opening video of a mare giving birth – the show is beautiful. On a simple stage, the horses seem as though they are on strings as they “performed” intricate choreography. I used quotes because trainer Sylvia Zerbini explained to me after the show – for them – this is a game. The show is contently being revamped to hold the horse’s attention, rather than training the horses, the trainers are playing an intricate game. And more remarkable – they are fearless when it comes to the 2000 on-lookers under the big top.

The horses weren’t the only stars of the show. Time flies as the performers both 4 legged and otherwise breeze effortlessly through summersaults, trapeze choreography, flips, vaulting, impossible jumps and dressage routines, and more flowing material than Tim Gunn’s Mood store.

As the performance came to a close – I took a little pick behind the curtain to check out the stables. That’s when I got a chance to really talk to the trainers and the handlers. And for the last little surprise – a stop by the Rendezvous tent – were I grabbed a glass of wine (of course) and had the opportunity to talk to a few of the performers.

A few weeks after the performance, a couple of the trick riders, James Buchanan and Renny Spencer, came into the pub with Jimmy’s family. Recognizing them immediately, we started talking about their amazing riding capabilities. Turns out Buchanan is from Alexandria. Small world folks.

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