Dunstan Playhouse, Thu 24 Sep
As the theatre darkens and mobile phone lights continue to glow throughout the audience like a secret lantern festival, a quiet, almost inaudible drumming pulls the attention to the darkened stage, one figure dimly silhouetted at centre.
Almost felt rather than heard, the steady rhythm demands the presence of the audience, and we wait. Imperceptible lighting reveals the dancer’s feet, one flat to the floor, the other on heel, softly drumming the stage, as they would for the next hour. The discipline, constancy and stillness of this opening heralded a remarkable piece of dance that embodies the power of community, mutual commitment and common intent in a world of ebb and flow.
To see men dancing together on stage without any leaps or spectacular acrobatics is unusual to westerners. To see seven men dance in such communion, selflessness and understated strength is entrancing and inspiring. Lead dancers would break away from the swell of the group for a vignette of movement then take their place back in the body of the group, moving as one, mesmerizing us with their masculine beauty, their endurance, and their total dedication.
In the midst of this captivating visual chant was a spell of gloriously held stillness, the entire company, not to backdrop the next outburst of movement, but for the sake of sacred stillness; a stillness that breathed into us from the stage, and then went on and then on longer, and even longer. We waited. We were still; then, a step. Phew.
The waves and troughs of this piece are remarkable in their simplicity and beauty. The storyline was not evident to me but I knew that these men were bound together by a force of nature, giving themselves, totally, exerting, praising and accepting.
An extraordinary and captivating piece of work.
Cry Jailolo performs at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, from 7.30pm until Sat 26 Sep.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.