The breathtaking performance by seven women to celebrate the unveiling of a brand new warship came as no shock to the navy personnel who hired them.
Dancers from 101Doll Squadron are considered mainstays at local and cultural events in the inner city of Sydney, having performed at NAIDOC events and the Wooloomoolivin ‘Festival.
The women were put in the spotlight after images of their modern dance routine – including twerking and hip thrusts – were published online.
They performed at an event in honor of the unveiling of the HMAS Supply. The guest list at the opening included Governor General David Hurley and Chief of Defense Angus Campbell.
Clever editing of the footage made it appear that the highly esteemed guests were unimpressed with the performance, but a Defense spokesperson later confirmed that the dancers were scheduled before the dignitaries arrived.
Governor General David Hurley (pictured with glasses) was seated at the front and center of the ceremony, but was present after the dance performance
Regardless, it wasn’t the group’s first time performing for the HMAS Supply crew.
Earlier this year, the group performed at a local community barbecue and basketball tournament held between the ship’s crew and local youth.
Woolloomooloo and the surrounding suburbs have a high indigenous population, and the Defense spokesman explained that they commissioned the dancers as part of a plan to actively support local charities and community groups.
In fact, a joint statement from 101Doll Squadron explained that the achievement was “ a small part of a long-term partnership with the Navy ” and pointed to future collaborations.
[There are] Pathway opportunities and ongoing programs, ”read the joint statement.
‘We regularly perform at festivals, cultural events and community events including The Woolloomoolivin’ Festival and NAIDOC locally. We are very popular with all age groups attending and have never been the target of abuse or complaints.
The dance troupe has shut down most of their social media outlets in the wake of the event’s response, which focused primarily on Defense and not on the individual women.
Earlier this year, the group performed at a local community barbecue and basketball tournament held between the ship’s crew and local youth. In the photo a number of members of Studio 101 after another performance
But in a series of videos shared three years ago, some women showed off their talents in fast-paced songs – an early indication of what the group specializes in.
The women combine traditional moves with modern flair, specializing in dancehall and hip-hop.
The dancers have since criticized the ABC for ‘deceptively’ editing footage that they say makes them feel ‘threatened, exploited and unsafe’.
“We found this very creepy and reflect more on the ABC cameraman and their need to sexualize these women and their dance piece for their own satisfaction,” the group said in a statement.
The group – which consists of indigenous and multiracial members – said they had no intention of being disrespectful and insisted that the images be taken out of context.
They allege that the captain and several crew members of the ship contacted them early on Thursday to make sure they are coping well in the aftermath of the backlash.
The dancers said the captain agreed that they were “unfair targets.”
Dancers from 101Doll Squadron are considered mainstays at local and cultural events in the inner city of Sydney, having performed at NAIDOC events and the Wooloomoolivin ‘Festival
New naval vessel HMAS Supply has been launched by a group of scantily clad women twerking (pictured) at Sydney’s Woolloomooloo
A defense spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia that the dance was organized to engage with the local community and preceded the formal part of the ceremony.
“HMAS Supply and the Royal Australian Navy are committed to working with Australians of all backgrounds to actively support local charities and community groups,” said the spokesman.
“The dance was performed before the commencement of commissioning formalities and before the arrival of His Excellency the Governor General, the Chief of the Navy and the Commander of the Australian Fleet.”
The story that senior officials were at the event at the time and were unhappy with the implementation has been strongly denied.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the ABC for comment.
ABC amended the article, later confirming that dignitaries arrived “ minutes after ” the dance performance ended, and in fact weren’t watching it take place.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison described ABC’s video compilation as “wrong, inaccurate and misleading.”
‘I am disappointed that this event was so misreported. I think it was disrespectful to the performers to suggest that the Governor General or others were there that way, ”said Mr. Morrison.
The ABC version of the events caused outrage among the community as people suggested the execution was ‘too daring’.
Jacqui Lambie, a former soldier turned politician, called the celebration an “absolute shocker.”
“I thought I was there for a split second watching the Super Bowl, I’ll be honest,” she told Nine’s Today show.
“Whoever made that call, it’s an absolute shocker for heaven’s sake.”
Senator Lambie added: “Good for those young ladies that they went out there, but I’m telling you, being half-dressed outside of a warship is probably inappropriate.
The HMAS Supply vessel company stands on the top decks at the completion of its commissioning ceremony (shown Saturday)
The launch was attended by officials including the Governor General and the Chief of the Navy
“If that is the lead in our armed forces, then God helps our sons and daughters who serve.”
Videos from the event show seven women doing a choreographed routine while wearing black shorts and red crop tops and berets.
“It doesn’t matter who the girls are, this is not appropriate,” said one person.
‘At a time when we are promoting women’s rights not to be objectified, there are other dance moves that would be fun and equally energetic.’
Other commentators found the incident “bizarre.”
“I wouldn’t believe you if the HMAS Supply banner wasn’t visible in the background. This is… too strange, ”someone said.
The main role of the HMAS Supply is to provide support to naval combat units. The vessel is now being tested.
Defense said the dance was organized as an attempt to ‘get in touch with the local community’
Governor General David Hurley (pictured) is seen at the ceremony for the new $ 2 billion boat on Saturday
What is the HMAS supply used for?
HMAS Supply is the lead ship of two Supply Class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels currently being built for the Royal Australian Navy by Spanish shipbuilder Navantia.
The Australian Supply Class ships are based on the Spanish Navy’s Cantabria Class design.
The ships are intended to carry fuel, dry cargo, water, food, ammunition, equipment and spare parts to provide operational support to the deployed naval or combat forces operating on the high seas for extended periods of time far from port.
In addition to replenishment, the ships can be used to combat environmental pollution at sea, provide logistical support to the armed forces and to support humanitarian and disaster response operations following a natural disaster.
Source: Australian Navy