Cavalia: A Magical Encounter Between Human and Horse makes its San Jose debut July 18, exploring the intertwined relationship of humans and horses throughout their existence. Normand Latourelle, a co-founder of Cirque du
Soleil who created the show and debuted it in Shawinigan, Quebec, in 2003, is excited to bring Cavalia to San Jose.

“We’re coming with 47 horses,” Latourelle says. “They are definitely the stars of the show.”

The show explores the history of people and horses—and their deep connection with one another—and celebrates the majestic beauty of equine and human performers alike. Along with dream-state backgrounds and live orchestral music, the show features 38 artists from all over the world.

The idea for Cavalia came to Latourelle when he was doing another show unrelated to Cirque that called for one horse. “When the horse came onstage, it was stealing focus away from the performers,” Latourelle recalls. “That’s the first time a horse attracted my attention. I just realized that the horse is probably the most beautiful animal on Earth.”

Latourelle spent almost 10 years studying horses before the first Cavalia show made its debut. “We built our humanity with horses,” he explains. “Without horses, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

With 47 horse traveling with the prodution, Latourelle and the Cavalia crew do their best to be sure the animals are comfortable both on the stage and in the stable. “Every time they travel between two cities, we give them 10 days of pasture,” Latourelle says. “In total, they have at least 50 days off per year when they go to pasture—so they have time to recoup from the traveling, they have time to relax and then they go to the show.”

Latourelle adds, with a smile, “Overall, for a horse, it’s a privilege to be in Cavalia. I wish I could get pampered as they do.”

Latourelle also feels that horses have done a lot for humans in the past, and that Cavalia is a kind of tribute to that fact. “I wanted to make sure that the animal was being respected,” he says. “So I think that what is behind the show is a recognition of what the horse has accomplished for man since millions of years.”

The show will be located under the White Big Top tent at the intersection of Highway 101 and 87 East on the 101 Tech campus across the street from the San Jose Airport.

Cavalia runs July 18 to July 29. The first show will be at 7:30pm. Show times are 2 or 3 pm in the afternoon and 8pm at night. Tickets are $44.50 to $129.50.