Thursday, January 21, 2021

Home A & E Odysseo: The Equestrian Spectacular By Cavalia

Odysseo: The Equestrian Spectacular By Cavalia

When the big white tent was raised in Sandy, Utah, Odysseo by Cavalia began preparation for its grand opening on Wednesday, April 20th. Odysseoincorporates stunning horses, talented aerialists and jaw-dropping theatric effects for a spectacular equestrian show. As a copious amount of time and planning will go into preparing the White Big Top tent for its next show, so will preparation for the horses and aerialists starring in the production. Salt Lake magazine had the opportunity to meet with two of the traveling aerialists ofOdysseo, Rachel Karabenick and Brennan Figari, and got to know more about life as a traveling artist.

While on a rotating carousel, on a rotating platform, with a rotating pole, aerialists practice their performance of the Carosello number, whilst trying not to get dizzy. Brennan and Rachel sat down with me to watch another couple practice their duet, as I gushed over the core and arm strength needed to perform their act. After eight months of working with one another, Brennan and Rachel have become very close. Trust is extremely important in their carousel duet, as they hold and support each other on the spinning platform. Like most of the performers in the show, Brennan and Rachel have backgrounds in various aerial works.

While on a family vacation, Brennan discovered flying trapeze. Eventually he expanded his trapeze skills to aerial acrobatics and other circus arts. In 2011, Brennan joined Cavalia and has performed in over 1,000 shows in the past five years with Odysseo. As for Rachel, she began her career as a dancer and increased her talents to aerial apparatus, pole, hoop and more. Now Rachel focuses on perfecting her art with Odysseo.

Watching the performers gracefully climb and twirl around the carousel, makes it hard to imagine doing such a demanding routine every night. Luckily, aerialists will know multiple roles and routinely swap acts, so nightly performances don’t wear them out. Three hours prior to a performance they begin getting ready for the show. Each aerialist is given their own station to prepare their makeup, wigs and various costume changes for each act. Brennan’s glossy mirror is  with pictures of one of his favorite actresses, Dolly Parton. Generally shows are very strict about makeup, but in Odysseo, performers are able to play with their makeup and add a bit of individuality.

“Some days we add a litte more glitter.“ Rachel said. “He’s not a fan.” Gesturing to Brennan.

“I just can’t get rid of that stuff.” Brennan agrees. “You’ll be getting glitter out of your scalp for the next week.”

Although Brennan and Rachel are aerialists, they are required to work with the horses as well. Some of the performers, Rachel included, have never been on a horse before Odysseo, but quickly learn.

“Everyone likes to learn new stuff, I do a little bit of trade with some of the riders,” Said Rachel. “I’ll teach them a little bit of aerial stuff and they’ll teach me to ride.”

Brennan, on the other hand, works with his horses a bit closer. Spending time grooming, riding and exercising with the horses is a daily task and builds a relationship and trust with the horses in the show. Each rider or aerialist has no more than three horses that they take care of and work with during and after the performances. While Brennan and Rachel can add ‘horseback riding’ to their already impressive list of skills, their talents truly shine in their beautiful acrobatic duet, romantically twirling around the carousel.

To see Brennan, Rachel and other amazing artists, check out Cavalia’s Odysseoshow in Salt Lake, beginning Wednesday April 20th.

For tickets, tour dates and more information on Odysseo check out

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