Best known for their seemingly gravity-defying leaps, the Tempel Lipizzans will begin performing their internationally-acclaimed "Ballet of the White Stallions" on Saturday, June 21. Performances are scheduled for 6-8 p.m. on select Saturday evenings, and 1-3 p.m. on select Sundays and Wednesdays, through Sep. 13. All shows take place at Tempel Farms in rural Old Mill Creek, where the rare Lipizzan horses are bred, trained and perform.
Set to classical music, Tempel Lipizzan performances follow the horses' training from the basic movements of the youngest stallions, through "high school" dressage -- rhythmic, choreographed dance steps on the ground -- and the dramatic Pegasus-like "Airs Above the Ground" for which the breed is famed. Lipizzans are one of very few breeds that possess the combination of physical power, athleticism and suppleness to perform these airborne moves.
An early breed established in Europe many centuries ago, these powerful horses were originally trained for medieval battle maneuvers for royal armies. Their graceful moves were refined to a form of entertainment during the late Renaissance in the royal courts of Europe. Today, two places in the world are most closely associated with classical Lipizzan performance, the famed Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria, and Tempel Farms in Lake County. The dancing stallions continue to entertain and delight audiences ranging from local horse lovers and history buffs, to urban families seeking a countryside getaway, and international tourists.
Following each performance, guests are invited to enjoy a self-guided tour through the stallion stable, visit the yearlings in the pasture, and ask questions of Tempel Lipizzan rider-trainers. Tempel Farms' outdoor cafe opens for lunch at 11:30 a.m. on performance Sundays and Wednesdays, and at 4:30 p.m. on performance Saturdays for dinner and drinks.
Tempel Farms is at 17000 W. Wadsworth Road, Old Mill Creek, a 50-minute drive from Chicago or Milwaukee, near Great America. In case of inclement weather, performances are held indoors. Saturday evening performances are scheduled for June 21, July 19, Aug. 16 and Sept. 13. Matinee shows will be held on June 25 and 29; July 6, 9, 13, 23 and 27; Aug. 3, 6, 10, 20 and 24; and Sept. 3 and 7.
Tickets purchased in advance are $25 for adults, $20 for active military and veterans, and $15 for children under 15. Tickets purchased at the gate are $30 for adults and $20 for children and active military/veterans. Parking is free. To purchase tickets online or for more information, visit www.tempelfarms.com or call (847) 623-7272.