City Centre Mirror
While spending summer days in the hospital is never ideal, children at the Hospital for Sick Children got a special treat as members of Cavalia dropped by to offer up an impressive display of equestrian and acrobatic skill.
Hundreds of spectators joined SickKids patients on the hospital’s front lawn to watch riders and acrobats strut their stuff Wednesday, July 11.
The show saw Antoine Romanoff showcasing Roman riding, in which he rode around the grounds astride two trotting horses, fellow riders Elise Verdoncq and Ramon Molina Gonzalez guiding two horses through dressage – or horse dancing – and a troupe from Guinea performing acrobatics.
The acts formed a portion of the action on stage for Cavalia’s latest offering, Odysseo, which is currently running in the Port Lands until July 29.
Cavalia founder Normand Latourelle said the decision to bring some of the show to SickKids came about naturally.
“We decided to bring some horses and some performance to the hospital because a lot of these kids that are in the hospital cannot go to see the show,” he said.
Latourelle said he considers himself – and the Cavalia ensemble – “happiness merchants” and was pleased to bring a little happiness to kids who might otherwise not have much to smile about. While many SickKids patients’ friends are enjoying the nice weather and playing outside, the patients themselves are often sequestered and subjected to needles and other treatment.
“Every day, smiling is not part of their day and I wanted them to smile,” Latourelle said. “I’ve seen a lot of smiles out of their faces when they saw…the acrobats and the horses and the riders.”
Following the show, the patients were brought to meet the acrobats and some were able to pet the horses.
All were thrilled to have such amazing entertainment brought right to them.
“I liked it when the acrobats were doing crazy stuff like jumping on each other and stuff,” said 12-year-old SickKids patient Mayuri Prathaban.
Fellow patient Omar Hatu, 9, said he was impressed with the amount of discipline and hard work that clearly went into perfecting the acts on display.
“It must have taken them a long time to train the horses, and they put some sweat into it,” he said.
The exhibition on the front lawn of SickKids came as Cavalia announced 100,000 tickets to Odysseo sold in Toronto. As a result of the organization’s ongoing success, the organization will donate $1 from each ticket sold from now on to SickKids’ Herbie Fund, which gives children from outside of Canada access to specialized care and treatment they might not be able to otherwise get.