Horsing Around

Stallions kick it like ballet dancers - but with hooves.

A few centuries ago, the Lipizzaner stallion was the Sherman tank of its time. The white horse's large build and powerful center of gravity made it the favored mode of transportation for great warriors and royalty.

But these days, instead of riding into battle, the graceful beasts are trained to dance to classical music. "It's equine ballet," says Troy Tinker, master of ceremonies for the World Famous Lipizzaner Stallions show, which comes to town today. "Or to be a little more colloquial with it, ‘the Rockettes of the horse world,' as one reviewer called us."

The new role isn't as much of a swerve as it may seem. Back in the day, when the horses weren't charging into battle, they were kept in shape with Grand Carousels — parade-like performances for which famous folks like Mozart would write music for the horses to dance to. "That's what we emulate in our show today," says Tinker. The horses will demonstrate death-defying leaps and choreographed routines, including the famed Airs Above the Ground maneuver, which originated, you guessed it, during combat. Classical music complements the galloping, and a narration recounts the breed's venerated history.
Sun., April 2, 2 & 6 p.m.