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San Diego has not one, but two Cirque-esque equine-centric shows in town (right on the heels of Cirque du Soleil's Dralion). This town has never seen so many aerialists and acrobats and big-tops all at once. But about the horses... I'd never heard of either Cavalia or Valitar before, at least not until horses and humans began appearing on billboards throughout the county.

As with most Cirque shows (note: Cavalia is not a Cirque show, but the "equestrian ballet" is the creation of Normand Latourelle, one of Cirque's founders, hence the similarities in style) the title itself is a made-up word -- this one is based on the French word for horse, cheval.

Image

Shot of Cavalia's tents and the new library dome

Similarly, Valitar (which is produced locally by Mark and Tatyana Remley who, to my knowledge, have no connection to Cirque) is an invented word based on the Latin word validus, which means "strong, mighty, and powerful."

I went to see Cavalia on opening night. The horses were indeed "magical," or as I kept whispering to David, who is perpetually at my side, "majestic." The first 40 minutes dragged as acrobats balanced on balls, bounced on trampolines, and gestured reverently at horses that trotted onto and off stage. But once the real choreography and better-rehearsed acts with horses and aerialists began, the show was riveting for the remaining hour and a half. The whole thing had a Ren Faire meets Western quality, and for the most part, it was delightful.

Image David, standing outside the tent on opening night

Image After party reception with champagne and chandeliers at Cavalia

I'm bummed I won't get a chance to see Valitar (I'm a bit busy with the Thanksgiving holiday this week). I'm curious to see how the two shows differentiate, and what the local producers mean when they say they've incorporated "state-of-the-art technology" into their own "mythical" take on the interaction between horses and humans. I hope this show comes back soon so I can make my comparison.

But you still have a chance to catch one or both of these shows through this Sunday (November 25), and see for yourself what kind of wonderment comes from mixing humans with horses on the big stage. Information on show times and prices below.

Dates, times, prices, and information for CAVALIA

Dates, times, prices, and information for VALITAR

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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