The performance of the 101 Doll Squadron prior to the HMAS Supply Navy ship’s official commissioning was intended to reflect a “modern celebration” of the ship, with targeted cultural references to blessing and geography.
Mandarin got a statement from a Sydney-based dance troupe at the center of a public pillory about their performance as part of a day celebrating the commissioning of the HMAS procurement.
101 Doll Squadron, a dancehall-style troupe made up of members of the Woolloomooloo community in Sydney, called the public scrutiny of their performance on Saturday offensive and “virulent.” The dancing team say they are shocked by the public attack and harassment by the media, which they claim is the result of the dance being portrayed out of context. This led the gang to shut down their social media accounts out of fear.
“As Uyghurs are jailed for their beliefs in China and women are treated as second-class citizens across much of our planet, it is disheartening to see the media focus on important information such as the attack. women and our dance piece, ”he added. said 101 Doll Squadron.
“We perform regularly at festivals, cultural and community events including the Woolloomoolivin ‘festival and NAIDOC locally. We are very popular with all age audiences and have never been the target of abuse or complaints.
NEW: The Royal Australian Navy ordered HMAS Supply in Sydney today, and uh… .. put on this dance to celebrate pic.twitter.com/OvCYlhhGZG
– Alex Bruce-Smith (@alexbrucesmith) April 10, 2021
The group said their brief choreographed performance with seven dancers, before the official Navy debating ceremony or reception of any dignitary, had been deliberately taken out of context. They added that the key elements of the dance relied on culturally significant symbols to represent a “blessing.”
“With Indigenous and multiracial members of a community dance group, the dance itself consisted of choreographic and musical elements that included references to blessings, ocean waves, and our geographic location where the water sweet meets the sea, to name a few.
“It was meant to bring an informal sense of celebration; a gift from one of our community groups to open a modern ship, with a modern dance form, ”the troupe said.
Media coverage of the dance show peaked in Australia with morning talk shows like Today broadcasting their presenters trying to twerk in the same style as the 101 Doll Squadron. Politicians also intervened, with Senator Jacqui Lambie questions the relevance of the choice of entertainment; and urging the Deputy Minister of Defense Andrew Hastie to remind troops that ADF’s “main activity” was “the application of deadly violence”.
A statement from a defense spokesperson said the department would not comment beyond acknowledging that HMAS Supply had engaged with the local community at one of its home ports (Woolloomooloo ) to “build positive relationships”. The Defense also pointed out that the performance did not take place in the presence of the Governor General or the Chief of the Navy.
“HMAS To supply and the Royal Australian Navy are committed to working with Australians from all walks of life to actively support local charities and community groups, ”the spokesperson said.
“The dance was performed prior to the commencement of commissioning formalities and prior to the arrival of His Excellency the Governor General, Chief of the Navy and Commander of the Australian Fleet.”
101 Doll Squadron defended their participation in the weekend’s Naval Day, noting that it was part of a longer-term partnership with the Navy and that they had attended other similar community-driven events to “development opportunities and ongoing programs”. The dancers added that their recent performance at a community barbecue and Navy-supported basketball tournament between the HMAS supply team and local youth was well received.
“It was a big success with the community members looking forward and looking forward to the next one,” the dancers said.
“The members of the ship and their captain are lovely and genuine people who we believe have also been unfairly targeted. We feel for them because they were trying to reach out to the community and had only good intentions. A community that is part of their base.
The dancers also took aim at the ABC and its selective editing, saying they were “disappointed” that footage was cut to suggest that official guests and dignitaries were the audience for their performance. In doing so, they claimed, sexualized the dancers for the gratification of others, and in a way the dance would not have been portrayed if presented in the right context.
“We found this very scary and give more thought to the ABC camera operator and their need to sexualize these women and their dance piece for their own gratification. These are the images that appear in the media and the CBA has a lot to say in making us feel threatened and exploited.
The group said they also wanted to stress that their performance was not intended to be disrespectful.
“It was in no way meant to be disrespectful and we are hurt and disappointed that it was misinterpreted to appear that way,” the group said.
Mandarin contacted the ABC for comment. Other questions were also put to the Defense, but at the time of filing, no response was received.
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