Horses and Acrobats Perform Together in “Gladius”

Horses and Acrobats Perform Together in "Gladius"

The beauty of horses and humans have long fascinated mankind. When we – horse and human – perform together in perfect harmony something stirs deep inside of us – more than just artistic, more … spiritual. I wish they would come to Texas. ~ HfH

By: Daliah Singer

Horses and Acrobats Perform Together in "Gladius"

Horses and Acrobats Perform Together in “Gladius”

A few years ago, I sat under a tent-like structure in the Pepsi Center parking lot, watching Cavalia unfold me before me. Created by one of Cirque du Soleil’s co-founders, Cavalia highlighted the beauty, regal-ness, and athleticism of horses in an acrobatic show unlike any I’d seen before.

This month, ex-Cavalia performer and Denver native Erik Martonovich brings his own version of a human-and-equine production to Colorado with the debut of Gladius. “What’s similar [to Cavalia] is that it’s horses and acrobats—and that’s about it,” he says. “The idea behind Cavalia was a show about the horse and the freedom of horses. Gladius is a show about what horses and humans have accomplished together. It’s based more on the interaction between the two than it is just on the horse.”

Translation: Pushing both performers to the extremes of their abilities with acrobatic feats Martonovich says have never been seen before. Though Martonovich wouldn’t give too much away (and because this is an instance where it’s easier to see than to explain), he gave one example of acrobats moving between the draft horses and aerial silks.

Of course, nothing is done to the detriment of the animals (22 horses are in the show). Martonovich, a former member of the U.S. Equestrian Team’s vaulting squad, has been around horses since birth. At age five, he got bored of just sitting on them and started doing tricks. But he says he was always more of a “performer than a competitor,” so he started Big Horse Productions in the late 1990s to begin exploring the performance capabilities of humans and horses. “The horses are performers, too,” he says. “Their well being is the show’s well being. We have lots of respect for them and make sure they’re happy and enjoy it.”

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AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
  • Sue

    I don’t like it when they cut off their tails!

    March 19, 2014
  • Maggie Frazier

    The short tails are the only thing that you notice? I think its great that this show highlights the BIG horses. Very few entertainments do that.

    March 20, 2014
  • Ronnie

    Ohhhhh! The grace, the beauty. Brought a tear of JOY to watch…the horses I mean. I could not tae my eyes off them. Wish they came out East.
    Than you Jerry for the preview!

    March 20, 2014