Via baby_elvis, this ice-dancing routine.
Russian world ice-skating champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin have danced around the controversy surrounding their Aboriginal-themed routine, insisting they will still use it at the Winter Olympics.
Aboriginal elders say the pair’s two-and-a-half minute routine causes serious cultural offence.
But Domnina and Shabalin, favourites to win gold at next month’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver, have defended their routine, which they will perform at the European Championships in Estonia today.
The performance includes ceremonial Aboriginal dance steps, with the pair wearing dark bodysuits with indigenous swirls in white, topped off with red loin cloths and eucalyptus-style leaves.
“Our coach offered us this music and we decided to try it,” Shabalin, 27, told reporters. “We researched it on the internet and got a lot of information. It’s wasn’t our purpose that it be especially Australian; just a dance from many thousands of years ago.”
“They have got the whole thing wrong,” said Stephen Page, artistic director of the respected indigenous group, the Bangarra Dance Company.
Page said there were no traditional movements in the routine, the music sounded more like it came from India or Africa than Aboriginal Australia and the body paint looked like “a three-year-old child had drawn it on”.
“It looks more like they were trying to emulate the token savage cave man,” Page told AFP. “That’s insulting to Aboriginal people.”
New York Times: Russian Pair Fuels Controversy With Aboriginal Dance
“We see it as stealing aboriginal culture, and it is yet another example of the aboriginal people of Australia being exploited,” Bellear, of the New South Wales state Aboriginal Land Council, told Reuters on Thursday. […]
Natalia Linichuk, their Russian coach who works with the pair in Aston, Pa., said the highly unusual program, set largely to voices and chants instead of a traditional soundtrack, was not directly based on Australian aboriginal dance or culture but on aboriginal culture in general.
“Aboriginal, it translates from Latin language, it’s from the beginning,” Linichuk said. “We try to represent a picture of this time when aboriginal people start being in the world. It’s no customs, no country, nothing.”