“In the end I thought they were the most beautiful animal on earth,” he said. “They’re very playful, very elegant. They are really stars.”
Latourelle knew that he was onto something. However, he had to be able to incorporate horses into the performing world in a way that was good for the animals.
“In Cirque, our trademark was that we were a circus with no animals,” he said. “Going to the animal world, I wanted to make sure that we were in total respect with the animals. I started to look for people who were training horses in different ways than the traditional ways. We started to do Cavalia with the idea of showing the bond between humans and horses, but in a very eloquent, high-tech, theatrical way.”
Cavalia was a great success. Latourelle began working on a second show, Odysseo, to take the horses’ performance even further.
“With Odysseo, I wanted to bring nature to the stage,” he said. “I created the biggest stage in the world to have these fantastic animals perform in a space where they will have even more fun.”
The larger stage — complete with two hills that are three-stories tall — offers the horses more space to work with.
“When they come on stage it is like their playground,” Latourelle said. “They are very playful when they are confident. When you treat them well they will be your best friends. And that’s what Odysseo is. It is two friends – humans and horses – going together, traveling across the most amazing landscape in the world to discover what nature has to offer to us.”
In addition to the horses, Odysseo incorporates acrobats, dancers and high-tech video components. There is no doubt, however, that the horses are the stars of the show.
“It is not a horse demonstration. It is almost a ballet,” Latourelle said. He said that his lack of horse experience allows him to push forward with new ideas that more experienced horsemen might have discounted as impossible.