Cavalia gives disabled kids VIP treatment

ByJesse Kirsch WLS logo
Friday, April 28, 2017
Cavalia welcomed disabled children from Chicago Lighthouse for a special visit.

CHICAGO, Ill. (WLS) -- Cavalia's Odysseo has been dazzling audiences across North America with acrobatics, equestrian performances, and theatrical magic- all beneath an extraordinary big top that's a feast for the senses.

But something so visual can be hard for everyone to enjoy.

Thursday, students from the Chicago Lighthouse, who have multi-disabilities, went behind the curtain with music, snacks-for everyone-and a V.I.P experience.

Michael Lara, who's blind and has autism, made the trip. His mom Yolanda Luna, says Michael experiences everything in his own way, and that Cavalia's tour was a perfect fit.

"To be able to come up close, touch the animals, smell the animals, be so close to them... he loved it."

Feeding the horses, stroking their coats, and even banging on the drums, the Lighthouse group learned new concepts. Lighthouse Educational Programs Principal Lee Burklund, says such an opportunity was key.

"If they were to be at the show... for example... and not have done this first, they wouldn't understand what was going on."

Martha Genetz was overjoyed to see her son Marco Cabrera, who has Down Syndrome and Autism, embrace Odysseo in his own special way.

"I saw my son dancing, enjoying with the horses, it's amazing."

And Cavalia rider Steven Paulson smiles, eager to share his passion with others.

"It's an honor to do this and be a part of it."

I promise, no one had a long face.

Cavalia has invited these families to an upcoming scheduled performance. But today, they had a unique experience so everyone can embrace the moment.