Review: Cry Jailolo @ the Tivoli Theatre


Choreographer : Eko Supriyanto

(Presented as part of the Supercell Festival of Contemporary Dance, Brisbane @ The Tivoli Theatre)

A spotlight moves slowly up from the floor, revealing a single, shirtless male dancer wearing red shorts, fabric pulled to one side, similar in style to the traditional Indonesian male sarong. His painted white palms held by his sides as he begins to bang one heel on the floor, creating the start of a steady rhythm that continues throughout almost the entirety of the dance.

As the first dancer’s beat and steady movement persists, perhaps for a little too long, others wearing identical costume finally appear, joining the rhythm and movement.

Eventually, a total of seven dancers emerge. Their movement is structured and controlled. Their formation, and simultaneous turning and marching, is precise and intriguing. Their energy seems endless as they continue exhaustively, their timing immaculate. Occasionally, the dancers break off and then regroup again, always steadily to the same beat, which increases and decreases in tempo.


Only a few breaks occur during the show, and when they do, they feel like a welcome relief to the ongoing, repetitive beat. But, as the pauses stretch to an almost uncomfortable divide, relief comes again as the sound returns. Perhaps it’s representative of a heartbeat, entrancing as it pumps the auditory lifeblood through the veins of the dance, irksome when focus shifts to the sound alone, and disturbing when it stops for too long. Or maybe it represents the endless motion of the sea, reaching and receding, and in rare moments, quiet, still, strangely unsettling. Perhaps it’s both.


It is at times difficult to follow, lacking in the expected palpable plot points – the story line is buried in a recurrent theme – but it’s exactly this narrative flatness which allows the audience to be pulled into an undercurrent of rhythm and movement, and to almost become part of the overpowering and entrancing ebb and flow of its premise.

It’s on a Thursday night at the Tivoli Theatre in Brisbane’s Valley where a mixed-age audience from different backgrounds gathers, and the pervasive effect of Eko Supriyanto’s Cry Jailolo becomes apparent. Teenagers and elderly folk, people wearing suits, traditional dress, jeans, or feather boas, each of them seemingly compelled, at some point, to tap their feet, or nod their heads, as they are drawn in and suspended in the incident of this unique production.

Cry Jailolo has managed to make an art form of memorisation. It presents more than just entertainment, it offers a uniquely appealing and engaging experience for its audience, and is a wonderful encore to the Supercell Festival.

Magdalene H

Author: Magdalene H

Magdalene is Romanian-Vietnamese, grew up in Australia, and is currently living on the Arabian Peninsula. She holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism, and is undertaking post graduate studies in Business, with a double specialization in International Business and Professional Communication. Magdalene also enjoys curating and contributing to several blogs, while navigating expatriatism, and parenting in the third-culture.