Show us Arabian horses dancing at liberty in the spotlight, dressed in the music and glitter of the Circus and we are transported to our childhood and the magical horses of our first dreams. Sylvia Zerbini is the beautiful woman center stage, surrounded by a spellbinding, swirling herd of Arabian horses at liberty, and she transforms the dance into the ultimate equestrian performing art. “I’ve been with horses my entire life. It’s in my blood,” says Sylvia, a ninth generation performer who has captivated audiences throughout Europe, North America and South America, since her debut on stage at the age of five.
On Saturday evening, June 9th, at 7 pm, Sylvia Zerbini and her Arabian horses will perform during the Opening Ceremonies for the evening performance in the Covered Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. It’s guaranteed to provide a fantastic entre to the last glamorous moments of final’s competition during the 32nd Annual Egyptian Event.
Sylvia was most recently the star of the acclaimed equestrian spectacle Cavalia (2008 to 2011) and her gift for orchestrating nine Arabian horses at once in her completely mesmerizing Grande Liberté performance has earned accolades from media including the Los Angeles Times and CNN. “I am blessed with a gift for reading horses. It’s about the bond,” explains Sylvia, who grew up around her family’s Lipizzaner, Arabian and Spanish horses. Studying their behavior at rest and play became her equine education, inspiring Sylvia to adopt liberty as a chosen medium of communicating with horses.
“I listen to what they tell me,” remarks Sylvia, who uses only body positions and a handful of verbal cues to communicate with 8 to 10 horses on stage, a third of which are stallions. Born in Sarasota, Florida, Sylvia grew up touring with her parents. Her father was a wild animal trainer. Like her mother, a famous trapeze artist Sylvia took to the air as a girl, but horses were her true passion. At an age when most teens are concerned with getting a driver’s license, Sylvia was already professionally training and performing with liberty horses. “Being a trapeze artist helped me. Horses are agile. They’re like dancers,” notes Sylvia. Another parallel is the absolute focus required to work with numerous horses at liberty. “Timing is everything,” she notes. Sylvia calls the horses her greatest mentors. Her specialty is liberty exhibitions involving more than 6 horses for which she coined the phrase – Grande Liberté.
Honored with numerous Awards including the prestigious Cup of Monaco, presented to her by Monaco’s Prince Rainier, Sylvia has performed for nearly 10 million people in her career, to date. She appeared at landmarks such as Madison Square Garden in New York, Playa De Americas in Mexico City, Molsen Center in Montreal, and at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, before touring with Cavalia.
To read the related story, The 2012 Egyptian Event CLICK HERE.