Gesture of the soul

Denis Marquès and the eight horsemen and women of the Alma Vaquera equestrian ballet invite us to enjoy a graceful and lighthearted show in the arena of the Grand Palais Éphémère.

© Robin Hasta Luego

Two young horsewomen gallop into the arena. They sit tall and straight, with a proud bearing and confident gaze. In perfect symmetry, turn follows turn as they cross the ring, come together and move apart to the rhythm of the music. Their pas de deux takes us to Andalusia, where the equestrian ballet has its roots.

The Alma Vaquera troupe draws its inspiration from doma vaquera, an equestrian discipline that originated in Spain nearly three centuries ago, transforming it into an equestrian art form in which horses and riders become one.

The gestures are precise and regulated, and it incorporates the same posture, with a garrocha held in the hand and balanced on the shoulder. Like a graceful extension of the arm, this 3.5-metre pole guides movement, held aloft or driven into the ground to trace the path taken by the horses.

Dancing with their riders, the horses move briskly and spin around, before starting again with renewed vigour, in total harmony with the music which has been composed especially for the performance.

Wearing traditional costumes, the troupe’s nine riders take turns to perform successive scenes of a new show created for this twelfth edition of the Saut Hermès, at the Grand Palais Éphémère.

Agility and rigour are ever-present, and each sequence demonstrates the passion of a centuries-old equestrian art form.