Back in the Saddle Again

Monday, January 17, 2005

The "World Famous Lipizzaner Stallions" are stampeding across the country on their 35th Anniversary Tour, and their one stop in Iowa this season will be Tuesday and Wednesday, February 22 and 23, for 7:30 p.m. shows at the Clay County Regional Events Center at the fairgrounds in Spencer. Tickets go on sale January 20.

In 1970, Producer Gary Lashinsky created a new family arena attraction, starring the all-white stallions. Many horses and riders were brought from Europe to perform in this unique show. Over the years, more than twenty-three million people throughout North and South America, Great Britain, Europe, Australia and Hawaii have seen this internationally acclaimed spectacle.

2005 represents the 35th Anniversary season of The Lipizzaner Stallions as the horses gallop out of the pages of more than 425 years of exciting history. All new music, choreography and routines have been incorporated in this anniversary edition with a major emphasis on the historical background and foundation of the Lipizzaner breed, from its original breeding and use as a horse of war to a horse of nobility and aristocracy to a living form of equestrian art.

Also included in the performance is a segment called the "Airs Above the Ground." These are the spectacular leaps and maneuvers, once used by riders in saddle to protect and defend themselves on the battlefield, which are now preserved as an equestrian work of art. When you see the Lipizzans perform, it is like stepping back four hundred years and viewing one of the greatest equine ballets in history.

The Lipizzan is a rare and unique breed; its history and culture is known worldwide. The Walt Disney movie "The Miracle of the White Stallions," depicting General George S. Patton saving them at the end of World War II from certain extinction, created an even greater world-wide interest in the Lipizzaner breed. Had it not been for Patton, there would be no Lipizzans today.

Although the Lipizzans star in this presentation, the ancestral forefather of the Lipizzan, the Spanish Andalusian, is featured also, with Grand Prix Olympic level dressage.

A French word that connotes harmony between horse and rider, "dressage," according to the Lipizzaner Stallions show, is "the art of perfecting the natural gait. It is the perfect walk, the precise trot and the even cantor." This dressage represents guidance through a set of maneuvers "without the perceptible use of hands, reins, or legs."

The current tour features 12 to 14 stallions, all performing from a selected set of maneuvers. The conclusion of the performance of The Lipizzaner Stallions is the traditional Grand Quadrille, featuring six to eight Lipizzaner Stallions with their riders performing an intricate, equine ballet. The Lipizzans prance, march and intricately weave their way across the floor to the music of the Masters in a spectacular ballet of four-footed white dancers.

* Tickets are available at the center box office starting January 20, online at www.ticketmaster .com, or by phone at 712-262-4554. Tickets are $19.50 for adults, $17.50 for children up to age 12 and seniors 60 and older.