As the horses and riders of Odysseo arrived in Calgary on Thursday, Western Horse Review got an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at this amazing theatrical production and the only 6-Dimension show in the world. There are many elements to this performance – from the grandeur of the white, big top tent, to the live Hollywood-style movie set, to the gravity-defying acrobatics, horses and humans – Odysseo promises a breath-taking experience.
I was thrilled to be part of Thursday’s Media Meet & Greet where I had the pleasure of being introduced to several of the horses and riders of Odysseo, who instead refer to themselves as “artists”. Every artist in the production is trained in all disciplines including Dressage, Roman riding and liberty. This is to guard against human injury and ensure the show goes on in any circumstance.
A quick tour around the barns revealed the great effort put into the quality of care and husbandry provided for each of the 70 equine stars of the show. As many of the mounts sported long, flow-y manes, you can imagine that braiding alone is a time-consuming process and an important aspect of behind-the-scenes care. Here, the bay Spanish purebred stallion “Atila” has some work done to his tresses:
Here’s another fellow with an intense mane care schedule. Incidentally, all of the horses who perform in Odysseo are either geldings or stallions.
In between shows, the horses are transported to farms within the country of performance, to receive “vacations” away from the limelight. Just prior to arriving in Calgary, the horses of Odysseo delighted in two weeks in the lush fields of a Langley, BC, farm. Now back to work in Calgary, I got to watch as many of them were rode in a warm-up routine for the first time in 14 days. Many were fresh and lively but with the majority outfitted in loose-ring snaffles and all the while maintaining loose reins, their riders took it all in stride.
Here a rider takes a few minutes to stretch out her mount’s front legs and ensure the girth isn’t pinching anywhere.
Emily Love, aka “Emmi”, was one of the riders who took the time to show me around. She takes a moment to visit with Quiebro, possibly one of her favorite mounts. Emmi’s family has plans to adopt Quiebro after his career life on tour. In Odysseo, Quiebro performs acts of liberty, Dressage, and Roman riding.
Away from the stable and the warm-up arena, Emmi showed me where the artists prepare for their scenes. It is estimated that almost 1,000 costumes are required for Odysseo with some artists requiring up to seven different costumes in an evening.
There wasn’t an accurate count on the number of bridles or saddles used in the show, but chalk it up to “a lot…”
Odysseo by the numbers:
• 17 – the number of days it took to erect the show’s big top white tent.
• 49 – the number of artists (acrobats, aerialists, riders, dancers and musicians) involved in the show.
• 110 – the number of trucks it requires to transport horses, equipment and people from location to location.
• 70 – different horses associated with the show, representing 11 different breeds.
• 8 – the number of “showers” or wash bays provided for the horses in the stables tent to ensure they are cleaned and cared for properly.
• 6 – the number of days Odysseo grooms and artists work per week.
• 2 – Vet techs tour with the company to every location to ensure the health of every horse is of paramount importance. 1 farrier is also on tour all the time.
• 1,000 – the approximate number of costumes used every night during a performance.
• 6 – the youngest age of a horse currently involved with the production of Odysseo.
• 1,000,000 – to date, there are more than this number of fans who have seen Odysseo, which will celebrate its 600th performance since its inception.
Odysseo is a 6-Dimension show first of all because of its three dimensional aspect involving its movie-style set that incorporates the interactions between horses and humans. Layers of mesmerizing decors, combined with gravity-defying acrobatic and areal stunts and the staggering effects created by state-of-the-art scenery makes this humongous stage a real 3-D feast for the eyes. To enhance this breathtaking experience, the production presents a splendid voyage with extremely high-definition computer graphic images, transporting the audience across the world’s most beautiful landscapes. To project these breathtaking 3-D graphic backdrops on an immense cyclorama the size of three IMAX screens, Odysseo uses projectors as powerful as those illuminating the grandest movie theaters. But whereas a cinema has only one projector, Odysseo uses 18 simultaneously. This “live 6-D” voyage is a veritable revolution in live entertainment production – making Odysseo a show unlike any other on the planet.
This is truly something you have to experience to believe! See you at Odysseo!! <smile>