The Greatest Equestrian Dance on Earth!

What was your “formative moment”? Can you recall a time when you were a child when there was a moment of inspiration that set you on a course for the rest of your life? Sometimes our future path is set in motion by early experiences, and we can count our blessings when the imprint is a positive one.

The same can be said about limiting beliefs. A random phrase or a unkind comment from an influential adult having a thoughtless moment can lodge in our minds like a thorn and prevent us from moving forward towards our greatest potential. The trick as we age is to discern which ideas come from seeds of love in the fertile soil of inspiration, and which ones are weeds infesting the garden of our souls.

Inspiration was the order of the day this past weekend since I was fortunate to take my daughter Geneva and her friends to Odysseo by Cavalia (see below) and treat them to a truly unforgettable afternoon of inspiration. If you’ve followed my weekly newsletter/blog for long, you know that my daughter is an avid student of circus skills and the aerial arts due to her long-time attendance at Oakland’s outstanding Kinetic Arts Center.

For going on five years now, (since she was three!) she’s attended weekly “Circus Kids” classes that have taught her the ropes, (literally!) in a wide variety of non-competitive somatic and performance-oriented skills. Rope, Trapeze, Aerial Silks, Clowning, Juggling, Tumbling, and Acrobatics are all part of the menu that the fine family and team of teachers at Kinetic Arts serves up to avid students ranging from toddlers to late teens, many of whom go on to professional lives in the performing arts.

Many of the classes culminate with a performance at the end of the season, which adds a special level of determination leading up to the big day, and that invaluable experience of understanding the meaning of “showtime!” when it’s time to step under the spotlight and leave all the practice behind.

So it was especially gratifying this weekend to treat her and her circus class buddies to a stellar show that connects the dots between the basic skills they are learning now and the pinnacle of their craft as performed by one of the top teams in the world. Getting treated to a backstage tour and a pep talk from Jacki, one of the aerialists in the show, (above, with Geneva) was icing on the cake.

It’s far too early to tell whether her and her friends will follow the path all the way to the big top, but having them understand where the path can lead will definitely be a reference point for them on the journey.

Ask yourself what seeds of inspiration are growing in the garden of your soul. Whether they are lying dormant or in full bloom, know that your reference points are valuable, and deserve your attention as the sweet fruit of your life matures.

Much love and happy dreaming, have a great week!


Mark Metz

Conscious Dancer Media Partner Event Spotlight:CAVALIA :: ODYSSEO

Conscious Dancer Media Partner Event Spotlight

If P.T. Barnum were alive today, he would have to concede the title of the “greatest show on earth.” I’m sure he would be astonished at how entertainment under the big top has evolved over the past 100 years.

Odysseo by Cavalia is a staggering work of performance art on a scale that is truly beyond belief. The brainchild of Normand Latourelle, one of the original pioneers of Cirque du Soleil, this multidimensional production is so dazzling, so sophisticated, so evocative, and so well put together that it surpasses any ordinary entertainment experience on every level.

The list of superlatives is mind-boggling. The worlds largest touring production complete with a traveling big top tent the size of an NFL football field. The biggest stage, 17,500 sq. ft. — the size of a hockey rink — that includes a sculpted hill created with 10,000 tons of rock, earth and sand. An overhead technical grid supported by exterior arches so that no support pillars mar the view capable of supporting 80 tons of equipment. The largest number of horses at liberty in any show ever. The list goes on.

The effects are more than just special, they’re real! The earthen hill at the rear of the stage vanishes visually into a 8,400 sq.ft. cyclorama projection screen that’s three times the size of the largest cinemas. As the horses crest the hill to enter the stage the immersive backdrop creates the illusion that they are appearing from distant mountains or desert. For the finale, (spoiler alert!) real rain begins falling, a virtual waterfall starts to flow, and the entire front part of the stage area is flooded with 40,000 gallons of water to become a shallow lake.

I grew up on a cattle ranch and spent a lot of time with horses when I was a kid. I’ve been to rodeos, horse races, and equestrian shows. There is an age old bond between the species that is magical to behold. I’ve also been to many circuses, acrobatic shows, and aerial performances. I have never witnessed a spectacle that combined the best of all of these worlds so seamlessly.

With 65 horses of 11 different breeds, and 48 performing artists co-creating a complicated choreography throughout, the the level of inter-species communication in this remarkable ‘dance’ is astounding. At several points during the show, large groups of horses completely at liberty are guided by quiet verbal cues from a single trainer to perform intricate maneuvers to rival any chorus line on Broadway. A post-show stables tour revealed how well cared for the horses are, and the fact that any one horse logs no more than 8 minutes of actual on-stage performance time throughout the course of the performance.

For aspiring aerialists, equestrians, or acrobats, (see above!) the show is especially inspiring. Totally unique sequences combining hoops and aerial silks with equestrian antics make for a hybrid performance like none other. And the juxtaposition of an awe inspiring acrobatic troupe from Guinea with and Eastern European sprung stilt-walker act takes physical theater to the next level.

Currently Odysseo by Cavalia is running in San Jose through mid-October, additional shows just added due to high demand. Next stops are Irvine in Southern California, Vancouver, BC, and Chicago. And while I would highly recommend the VIP Rendezvous experience that includes an epicurean buffet beforehand, dessert bar during intermission, and a post-show stables tour, Cavalia is remarkably accessible, with ticket prices starting at only $29 dollars.

Get your tickets today if you’re in the Bay Area, and put a note on your calendar if you live near one of the upcoming locations.

Learn more and watch the Odysseo video preview here.