Sydney Festival 2017: Dancing new lives Keith Gallasch: EkosDance Company: Cry Jailolo; Balabala

“Eko Supriyanto’s internationally travelled Cry Jailolo featured in the Darwin Festival and Adelaide’s OzAsia in 2016, in this year’s Sydney Festival and will appear shortly in Brisbane’s new Supercell Dance Festival and Melbourne’s Asia TOPA, a three-month celebration of Asian and South-East Asian performing arts. Also in the Sydney Festival was the premiere of Balabala, a new work from Supriyanto’s EkosDance Company.

Cry Jailolo features seven young male dancers (untrained until they worked with Supriyanto) from the remote community of Jailolo on the Indonesian island of Halmahera in the northern Maluku Islands (Moluccas). Supriyanto has created a contemporary dance work for them “inspired by the Legu Salai dance from the Sahu Tribe and Soya-Soya dance from North Maluku,” (EkosDance Company website), as well as traditional Indonesian martial arts. He aimed to empower young men living on an island which is fast losing its fishing industry to coral reef degradation. Hence the title, a call demanding our attention. Cry Jailolo will be travelling in our region and beyond for many months to come this year.

Balabala is a new work, less formally structured than Cry Jailolo’s highly developed, exquisite patterning, more loosely expressive and due for inevitable tightening of some of the longer passages and focusing of images as it matures. ”

Read Keith Gallasch’s full review of EkosDance Company’s “Cry Jailolo” and “Balabala” at the Sydney Festival 2017 here.

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