The judges' panel may have given them high marks, but the oddly designed clothing, free-form "jungle" moves and world fusion music chosen by Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin have offended a great number of people.
From here. And more:
In dark-toned bodysuits, complete with what they claim are authentic Aboriginal paint markings, the pair easily won their national ice dance competition three weeks ago at their first performance of the routine, making them favourites for gold. But while the judges in St Petersburg may have been impressed, many in the Aboriginal community are not. [...]
Domnina, 25, and Shabalin, 27, they recently spoke to ice-skating website Golden Skate about their motivations for the dance. [...] Asked about their research of Aboriginal culture, Domnina said: ''We've watched video clips on the internet of these dances and it is really like this - complete with the leaves around the knees.''
The music the Russians perform to has also raised questions. Ice-skating fans have identified the track as being composed by Sheila Chandra, a Briton of Indian descent. [Asian Indian, that is.]
The Four Host First Nations that are helping Olympic organizers sponsor the 2010 Games have asked to meet with a pair of Russian skaters who have been criticized for wearing loin cloths and dark-skin bodysuits in their dance routine. [...] "My first reaction is that I feel really disheartened that this took place, particularly given how the indigenous people in Australia feel about it," Tewanee Joseph, CEO of the Four Host First Nations, said yesterday. [...]
"They are coming into our territory. They should feel comfortable here but at the same time, we want to educate them on our culture [...]
Victor Kraatz, a world champion ice dancer from Vancouver, said he felt the Russians had "decided to go a little bit Hollywood'' in their depiction of the Aboriginal dance and that they had "dumbed down a little bit" the character of the dance.