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