“Cry Jailolo, Indonesia Dances”

Those seven pairs of feet were dancing as dense as the room. Their tiptoeing movements were in a motionless form, but yet they were constantly moving. They were like a group of white fish living among the coral reeves: silent, still, but their tail always on the move, their fins keep on waving. Their movements did not produce any ripples; as if they were weightless.

In an empty dark room, a little light emerged like the piece of the moon on the tranquility of the ocean in the dawn. The dancers’ feet stepped on the floor reverberated with the soft rhythmic music, taking the audience to the deep blue ocean of Jailolo.

“Cry Jailolo,” was a story narrated by the body. A tale about the destruction of the shallow sea ecosystem, overgrown by the coral reeves. The empty room was a representation of the lost corals; seven dancers with red pants that were always on the move were the fish that lost their home. Sometimes they were still with their feet (tail) flapping, sometimes spreading their hands like a pack of flying fish who see the oceanic world from above while telling their sad tale to the rare angel birds. These moving bodies eventually creaked when they realized that there was nothing left in the ocean; nothing but darkness and rage.

Eko Supriyanto, the artist and choreographer, was born in Astambul, South Borneo in November 26th 1970. He presented the Coral Reeves, the home of the fish, in the movement-storytelling entitled, “Cry Jailolo.” He got the idea of the show after seeing a terrifying scene of the underwater panorama: the destroyed coral reeve that was caused by blast fishing. Despite the damage area, he still could find surviving beauty in other part of the sea of Jailolo sultanate. In the peaceful diving, Supriyanto got an idea of schooling fish, a dance composition. The dance was combined with Legu Selai and Soya-Soya dance, authentic traditional dances of West Halmahera and the hands of music arranger SetyawanJayantoro, the Cry Jailolo composition was born.

Cry Jailolo was premiered in the Jailolo Bay Festival, West Halmahera, Northern Moluccas, on May 2014 involving local talented young dancers. These seven dancers—Veyndi Dangsa, Gretsia Yobel Yunga, Gerry Geraldo Bela, Frenandito Wangelaha, Geri Krisdianto, Noveldi Bontenan, and Budiawan Saputra Riring—were chosen out of 150 dancers who played in the colossal musical “Sasadu On The Sea,” a year before.

Eko Supriyanto was a choreographer who grew up in the dance studio since a very early age. Thus, he could recognize the potentiality of someone, even though he/she never went to dance school. Because it took more than a genius in dancing the dynamic move of West Halmahera dances; the dancers would need an extreme fortitude.

“The dancers must have smart movement. Without stage property, the power of the dancer lay on his or her own body movement,” said Arco Renz, a Belgian dramatist who worked on the Cry Jailolo performance.

Eko Supriyanto was a brilliant dancer and choreographer. As Arco Renz said about the absence of stage property, the movements of the dancers were the main attention. Through the seven dancers, Supriyanto conveyed his story and message.

“Cry Jailolo” was the message of West Halmahera to the world. Supriyanto’s choreography that was forged from the traditional dance of Jailolo, Legu Salai and Soya-soya, became a representative of the life under the sea.

The dance was performed in the Aswara International Dance Festival, initiated by Joseph Gonzales, Supriyanto’s best friend from Malaysia. Gonzales wanted to revive the dance festival in Malaysia that had been staled for 18 years. The festival was the initial stage of “Cry Jailolo,” and it had standing applause. Supriyanto then perfected the dance by adding dynamic movement and structure—which ended up prolonging the dance from 20 minutes to an hour.

The dance was also performed in Indonesia dance festival and got many appraisals, including from the Indonesian Minister of Tourism, Arief Yahya. The Indonesian Dance Maestro, Sardono W. Kusumo, said that “Cry Jailolo” could be the foundation of Eko Supriyanto works as a dancer. For Kusumo, this choreography exceeded Supriyanto’s preceding works. The production of this performance, since research, conceptualization, casting, and the efforts in reviving traditional dances from local to global, were outstanding.

“Cry Jailolo” was performed in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, some European Countries, New York, and Washington DC. It was also performed in representing Indonesia in Frankfurt Book Fair 2014, in Germany in additional to some theaters in Belgium and Switzerland.

There is an interesting story on the performance in International Dance Festival in Japan. During a speed meeting that was attended by many art company from the whole world, the artists who have a new work may presented their concept in a certain amount of time. If it was interesting, a company will buy the work. If not, then the presentation will be replaced by other artists. Eko Supriyanto was interested in joining the presentation, but his producer forbade him to. For the producer, the dance was meant to be a performance, not a concept presentation. So Supriyanto’s job was not to present a concept, but to rehearse. Thus, when the performance on stage was over, 5000 audiences were standing and giving a grand ovation for “Cry Jailolo.”

Throughout 2015 calendar, “Cry Jailolo” was fully booked. The performance was scheduled in Bali in March, and back to Jailolo Bay Festival in May.

For the International agenda, it will be showed in Darwin in August, then Hamburg (Germany), Zurich (Switzerland), Groningen and Rotterdam (Holland).

In September, “Cry Jailolo” will perform in Bird Festival Kobe (Japan) and Adelaide (Australia). October will be spent in Antwerpen (Belgium), Frankfurt and Darmstadt (Germany), and closing in the Esplanade (Singapore).

“Cry Jailolo” goodwill around the globe was a proof that the nature and creativity are cultural wealth that brings us greatness and enlightenment. Both give us blessing and methods of how to share the bahari message universally.

The West Halmahera greets the world with the movement created by the elders and interpreted by seven youths of Jailolo.

The path that Regent Namto Hui Roba paved, had give its result. The 2009 Jailolo Bay Festival was the right path. The festival was not only the cure for Moluccas’ wound of the 1999–2000 riots, but also the pride of West Halmahera that gives the spirit to be the Great Indonesia. Because of this contribution, in 2015, the Australian government gave an award to Namto Hui Roba.

Through the choreography of West Halmahera shores, we’ll see Indonesia dance.

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