Last night our family witnessed Cavalia, an astonishing spectacle celebrating the ancient connection between human and horse.
The cast of horses includes a number of well-known breeds: Arabian, Quarter Horse, Appaloosa, and Paint.
Some of the more obscure ones are the Iberian Lusitano, the Oldenburg from Friesia, and the Comtois from Eastern France.
The show, which originated in Shawinigan, Quebec, also displays the skills of a breed I had not previously heard of: the Canadian.
Each breed brings its special skills to the tasks it must perform, from Dressage to Team work in harness to Trick riding.
The spectacle was conceived by Montrealer Normand Latourelle. One of the original visionaries who brought Cirque du Soleil to the world, he has assembled a veritable army of acrobats, artists, craftspeople and horses to inspire as well as entertain.
Indeed, this show had everything including its own orchestra and solo musicians. The moods kept changing as the performers presented a hint of fairy tale romance, a wealth of astonishingly athletic trick riding and a soupcon of that unmistakeable Cirque-style fun.
The skill and showmanship of the performers, human and equine, was superb. The audience kept bursting into spontaneous applause.
The backdrops portrayed a variety of scenes including ancient cave paintings of horses, terracotta warrior horses from Xian, the Roman Coliseum. One of my favourites was an arrangement of sheer curtains and projected scenes that gave the illusion of watching a string of riders on a forest trail.
We left the show knowing that no matter how urban and high-tech our lives have become, the ancient bond between human and horse is decidedly intact. The popularity of Latourelle's show reveals that many -- nearly two million in North America and Europe -- have made a profound connection to this travelling spectacle.
In his own words, he has brought forward his vision as "An ode to beauty, a freedom fantasy, a hymn to harmony, one step toward a new complicity."