“Les Equestriades” in the city of Orange: where equestrian arts meet

Journal N°13 -
In the Antique theater of Orange in France, home to the best preserved Roman theater in Europe, an extraordinary show is going to take place for the second year running: the “Equestriades”, featuring The “Cadre Noir” of Saumur together with Alexis Gruss & Family on 29th and 30th May 2015.

This is the very best Equestrian performance has to offer, in a close partnership with contemporary Equestrian Art Institutions, as well as other performing arts such as dance, circus arts, music and theater.
Located in the heart of the Rhone Valley, this is one of the most beautiful heritage sites of the Imperial Roman era, promoted and managed by Culturespace. Featuring on the Unesco World Heritage List, the Antique Theater of Orange mainly owes its fame to its magnificent stage wall, which remains in astonishingly good condition and is truly a one-of-a-kind in the Western world.

© Karim El Dib

Once a landmark for the performances of the Roman age, it still holds it status today, to the delight of art enthusiasts from all corners of the world. The riders and the virtuoso musicians, as well as their horses, will perform prestigious equestrian displays during a 2 hour 30 minute long show. Which will be rendered even more stunning by state of the art technology never before used in such an occasion.

© Culturespace

“We only have a few days left to be ready for the technical side of this show. We are going to be working together with Mr Jean Charles Pfauwadel, lighting designer, and the DuShow Company of Paris, to give an outstanding performance to the public”, explains Antony Etienne, stage manager for Alexis Gruss. “We have focused on playing with lighting effects and this wonderful scenery that is the Antique Theater of Orange”.

This show celebrates the union of two great equestrian traditions: the French academical equestrian tradition and circus arts.

After an opening by the Sylvain Rolland Grand Orchestra, the first part of the performance gives center stage to the Cadre Noir of Saumur, embodying the style of French Traditional Riding, UNESCO lists the Cadre Noir as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The first act is a union of culture and beauty

As a prelude, one witnesses the traditional warm-up of the Cadre Noir riders, which portrays the riders gathering around the Head Rider in the arena, where they all work individually with a common leitmotiv, “Ask often, with small expectations, and much praise.”

Alexis Gruss and the Colonel Teisserenc meet on horseback as a symbol of the link between the French Equestrian Academy and Circus Arts, and display the perfect balance between these two great equestrian traditions. All 32 riders and artists portray the story, the traditions and the techniques of the Great French Riders. This performance is a bridge between yesterday and tomorrow, a bridge between men united around their passion, art and equestrian tradition.

© Alain Laurioux

A homage to the French Academical Riding is materialised in a testimony to the Great French riders: Pluvinel, La Guérinière, d’Aure, Baucher, and l’Hotte will be portrayed in 15 live scenes. 6 magnificent bay Lusitano horses will perform a free display, under the guiding whip of Alexis Gruss - yet another equestrian ballet to complete an already impressive list from the Gruss family.

Afterwards there will be a long reins jumping demonstration by the Cadre Noir, which is always a success and an original touch. More accurate than a lunge line, and more dynamic than the in-hand exercises, the long reins break the traditional training routine.

While he plays with his horse\'s balance, the trainer perfects his jumping style whilst improving suppleness and prudence. Finally, “vaulting and jumps” and “long reins and tightrope walking” scenes make this first act both educative and dynamic.

The second part is all about “variety and dynamism”

To finish with, the “cabrioles” (the special training routine of the in-hand jumping horses of the Cadre Noir) and another show of the Gruss cavalry stallions display two different aspects of the elevated airs training.

© Alain Laurioux

This second act starts with a great opening from the Alexis Gruss Grand Orchestra, then a reminder of the “Belle Epoque” by the Cadre Noir, with the famous “table and chair jumping”. A stunning portrait of the bravery of the charming Cadre Noir riders during these glittering times!

© Karim El Dib

Then, the dynamic changes considerably as the stage welcomes a comical horsewoman for a high-octane finale. The in-hand work together with a balance act on canes, a carrousel, a jumping horse carrousel, musical loose horse displays and acrobats on horseback with a tightrope walker that complete this highly diversified performance with a bang. This show is like an overview of the equestrian art, as it is both a testimony to tradition and a contribution to modernity.

The “Equestriades d’Orange“
29th & 30th May 2015
At the Antique Theater of Orange (postcode: 84100, Orange, France)