Posted by: Mickey Goodman | December 11, 2009

Cavalia – Atlanta’s Best Holiday Present

The Stars Take a Bow

“Oh my goodness, oh, my goodness,” a young boy behind me exclaims when a lone white horse emerges from the wings and meanders slowly across the sandy stage. We are sitting under the snow white Big Top at Atlantic Station, the setting for Cavalia, a fairy tale show from the creators of Cirque du Soleil.

The graceful beast wanders back and forth, lowers his head, then looks up as a barefoot girl dressed in Native American attire joins him.  In the center of the stage, a pool of water rises, as if by magic and the girl playfully dances in and out. When the horse ambles over to receive a nose rub, the boy repeats the phrase I will hear throughout,  “Oh my goodness,” oh my goodness!  I turn to smile. He echoes my sentiments exactly.

Cavalia and the city of Atlanta began their love affair October 27 and I have no fear it will continue until January 3 when the show moves to a new destination. It is arguably the city’s best holiday present ever!

I admit, this is my second time around. The first was sitting two rows from the top. This time, I’m so close to the stage, I can see a horse’s nostrils flair. Cirque, known for its rapid change of pace, keeps the audience off guard. Following the bucolic first scene, eight horses  thunder across the  stage playing a wild game of chase. I can pick out the few breeds: elegant Arabians, American quarter horses, Paints, Spanish breeds and more. In all, there are more than 20 stallions and 40 geldings in the entourage, all equally mesmerizing.

Man Made Pyramid

As are the acts. Sliding from one to the other without cease, they morph from fluid and ethereal to fast and furious. One, featuring two couples astride horseback, brings a string of “oh my goodnesses” from my new friend, particularly when the women soar into the air on nearly invisible wires. They twist and turn, join and part, their dresses flowing gracefully in the breeze. They descend, face down and plant sensual kisses upon their partners, then soar once again before ending as they began, astride the horses.

Like all Cirque performances, the stars appear boneless and spineless – in a good way. Their bodies fly through the air, leap from unbelievable heights and twist in unnatural ways — oh so gracefully. Comedy comes through a Wild, Wild West-style show featuring trick riders. The boy behind me goes wild, and his older siblings join in with a string of “wows” and “awesomes.” What better fun for active kids than some fast action?

My favorite part? It’s akin to choosing my favorite grandchild. But I think I most enjoyed the marriage of man and beast, clearly demonstrated when a lithesome lone female horse whisperer takes total command of eight horses. On her inaudible (to me) command, they move in circles, reverse direction, cantor around the curved ramp and return to her for a horsey kiss. I’m ready to leap up on the stage  to nuzzle their velvety noses. Likewise,  I hope to round up the four older grandkids for a return visit during their winter holidays from school.

Travelgram Tips:

  • Make reservations in advance. The show is playing to sold-out audiences.
  • Pay the big bucks and sit as close to the front as possible.
  • Parking is NOT free.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to put you knees in your pocket. The seats are far from roomy.
  • Leave the little ones at home, but take kids from eight up, particularly horse lovers. It could be their favorite holiday gift.


  1. Cavalia is unforgettable. I saw the show a few years ago in Dallas and thought it was outstanding.

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