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10 mins to raise giant tent for Cavalia show

Equestrian circus sets up massive tent in Singapore

The crew of 50 began their work in earnest.

Groups of workers carried the metal poles to the sides of a giant canvas, lifted them and planted them in the ground - all 120 of them.

Tugging on a system of pulleys, they speedily raised the giant tent, inch by inch.

Flags on each of the tent's four spires are raised, the last planted by hand by tent crew member Louis-Gabriel Boursier, 34.

In about 10 minutes, Cavalia's White Theatre Tent, which measures 6,630 sq m and is one of the world's largest touring tents, was up.

But preparations were far from over. Five more tents will be set up, for areas like the stables, warm-up tent and staff cafeteria.

WHERE

Raised on a bare patch of land at Bayfront Avenue yesterday outside Marina Bay Sands, the tent, which can host more than 2,000 spectators, will be the stage for Cavalia, a touring show featuring a mix of equestrian and performing arts, multimedia and special effects.

WHAT

The show, which hails from Canada and will run from Aug 12 to Sept 14 from Tuesdays to Sundays, will feature 50 horses and 46 acrobats in a dizzying combination of acrobatics, dance, aerial stunts and live music to explore and celebrate humankind's longstanding relationship with the horse.

SETUP CHANGES

Head of logistics Jocelyn Langelier, 39, who has worked with Cavalia for over 10 years, said: "We arrange the tents based on the city. Sometimes, we modify the tent positions. But some tents have to be connected, (for example) the stable has to connect to the warm-up tent."

He said the main structure of the White Theatre Tent, including the acrobatic grid and bleachers, is shipped, but items such as sand and stage materials are sourced locally.

"The tent is meant to sustain 120 kmh wind," he added, noting that Singapore's heat will not pose a problem to the air-conditioned tent.

Cavalia's stage set-up has improved over the years and the show now boasts a segment where the stage will be flooded with water.

In May, 11-year-old Cavalia celebrated its 2,400th performance in Brussels, Belgium, where it was before Singapore.

The show's horses are on a "holiday" in Belgium, as per their usual breaks from touring and training, before they arrive here in the first week of August by plane.

Tour director Mathieu Latourelle, 34, said: "We find a farm somewhere in the country where they can lead a 'horsey' life, eat grass and be pampered.

"They get more vacations than the humans."

Cavalia by the numbers

35m

Height, including the flag, of the White Theatre Tent, which is about 10 storeys high

5,500kg

Weight of the tent's canvas

100

Number of truckloads of sand and soil needed to create the stage

4km

Total length of canvas roll used in the six tents of the Cavalia Village when laid end to end

80

Number of crew needed to set up the stage and equipment for the show