Ha­rassed teen girls to per­form again

Auckland City Harbour News - - WWW.FICINO.SCHOOL.NZ/PRESCHOOL OR CALL 09 623 3385 - CA­TRIN OWEN

Young fe­male dancers who were sex­u­ally ha­rassed by rugby fans be­fore an All Blacks match are re­turn­ing to the stage with a dance based on their ex­pe­ri­ence.

On June 24 girls aged be­tween 13 and 16 from dance troup HighJinx were per­form­ing out­side Kings­land train sta­tion where they were sub­jected to lewd com­ments be­fore the All Blacks ver­sus Lions test se­ries opener at Eden Park.

Grown men asked the per­form­ers to give lap dances and per­form sex acts dur­ing the girls’ 90-minute per­for­mance.

HighJinx, a youth com­pany spe­cial­is­ing in aerial and ac­ro­batic cir­cus, had been in­vited to per­form by the Kings­land Busi­ness So­ci­ety as part of fan en­ter­tain­ment.

Their story sparked wide­spread con­dem­na­tion to­wards the rugby fans’ be­hav­iour and started a na­tional con­ver­sa­tion about the ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion of women, es­pe­cially of such a young age.

The girls have not per­formed on stage since.

Troupe di­rec­tor Car­lene Ne­wall de Je­sus said the girls had used their ex­pe­ri­ence to put to­gether a new per­for­mance, which they would per­form a show at the Man­gere Arts Cen­tre.

For the per­for­mance De Je­sus has part­nered with the Crescendo Trust of Aotearoa - a mu­sic or­gan­i­sa­tion fo­cused on help­ing youth who feel dis­en­gaged or stuck in a sit­u­a­tion they can’t see a way past.

The piece fo­cuses on the im­por­tance of hav­ing a voice, de Je­sus said.

‘‘Ex­pe­ri­ences have formed what this show is.

‘‘The whole piece is very much talk­ing about the ex­pe­ri­ences and tak­ing the strength from the girls stand­ing up for them­selves,’’ she said.

The ti­tle of the show, If they re­ally knew us, was in­spired by a com­ment one of the girls, Ella, made to a Stuff jour­nal­ist.

‘‘If they knew us per­son­ally they wouldn’t come up to us and say that sort of thing,’’ Ella said in July.

The fi­nale of the show is cen­tred around their ex­pe­ri­ence on June 24 and in­cludes voiceover pieces of the girls and de Je­sus speak­ing.

‘‘It’s given them a new sort of strength to have some­thing hap­pen and stand up for them­selves and cre­ate some­thing dif­fer­ent,’’ de Je­sus said.

If they re­ally knew us will be per­formed at the Man­gere Arts Cen­tre on Au­gust 18 and 19.

SUP­PLIED

Dance group HighJinx will per­form again af­ter its teen mem­bers were sex­u­ally ha­rassed by rugby fans in Kings­land.

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