I got a sneak peak at Cavalia yesterday, and my goodness, it’s the best thing I’ve seen in forever.
Billed as a Magical Encounter Between Human and Horse , it is really something which is difficult to describe.
In fact, the production is so moving that a bit of water might have gotten into my eye on a few occasions, or perhaps that was an allergy. Yes, I think there were a few allergies around at the media preview.
A tit bit first: Cavalia is the world’s largest travelling show, but never before has it set up in a city as wet as Brisbane. So much for the Sunshine State!
And for the “awww” moment: Two Queensland colts have been handpicked for their spot in the limelight – and a chance at equine fame – to star as babies in the show.
Six-month-old Showman and Glory were a little nervous at first, but bonded as soon as they entered their shared stable. “It was a mateship,” says Gold Coast-born stable director Donna Morton, who nabbed the prized role after an initial skype interview.
Then she was invited to fly to San Diego to watch the show, and she’s been managing the equestrian side of the event ever since. Her role includes accessing feed, assisting her VIP clients through quarantine, and finding a happy place for them to ‘chill out’ in-between shows.
Showman will return to his human family after the show, and Glory will be adopted out.
Another Gold Coaster in the show is gymnast Bianca Ruyssenaers. The 19-year-old gymnast, trapeze artist, bungee artist, and dancer is making a triumphant return to Queensland shores for the Australian premiere, and can’t wait to perform for her parents and brother Zane.
“Zane was actually a gymnast and he was four years older than me, and I just wanted to be like him,” she recalls. “So I started gymnastics at three, loved it, was good at it, and kept going.”
Though Zane eventually gave the sport up, Becky persisted, even attending St Hilda’s School because of their gymnastics program.
“There were sacrifices, sure,” she says. “Training 23-24 hours a week, and saying no to parties. But look at the rewards now! I have no regrets.”
She represented Australia in gymnastics at 15, and got her start performing as a pirate at Sea World. At 18, she was travelling around and performing in Asia.
But last year, she got the call for Cavalia and “left in a week”.
“I love it,” she says. “It’s just so exciting. The cast themselves are so amazing, but to have the horses too – it’s definitely different working with horses.”
Becky is looking forward to returning to her family home on the Gold Coast and catching up with her friends.
“You travel the world, but the Gold Coast is always home,” she says.Cavalia opens under the White Big Top in Brisbane in the parking lot adjacent to DFO at Brisbane Airport on March 6, and will run in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. For details go to www.cavalia.com.au or call 1800 765 955.
Showman, left, and Glory, right