Oksana Domnina Maxim Shabalin Aboriginal Dance Offensive? (VIDEO)
Russian ice dancing champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin will be competing in next month's Winter Olympics in Vancouver. However, Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin's original dance, which has an aboriginal theme, was considered "very offensive" to an Australian elder Sol Bellear.
Sol Bellear of the New South Wales state Aboriginal Land Council told Reuters on Thursday, "We see it as stealing aboriginal culture, and it is yet another example of the aboriginal people of Australia being exploited."
So far there hasn't been any outspoken protest against their aboriginal themed original dance. Natalia Linichulk, the coach who works with Domnina and Shabalin, said it is not directly based on Australian aboriginal dance or cultural, but on aboriginal culture in general. She said, “Aboriginal, it translates from Latin language, it’s from the beginning. We try to represent a picture of this time when aboriginal people start being in the world. It’s no customs, no country, nothing.”
Bev Manton from Sydney Morning Herald said the performance is offensive because of the way they dress, and that their claim of its authenticity:
From an Aboriginal perspective, this performance is offensive. It was clearly not meant to mock Aboriginal culture, but that does not make it acceptable to Aboriginal people. There are a number of problems with the performance, not least of all the fact both skaters are wearing brown body suits to make their skin appear darker. That alone puts them on a very slippery slope.
They are not, as they state, wearing "authentic Aboriginal paint markings". They are wearing white body paint in designs they dreamed up after reading about Aboriginal Australians on the internet. The designs are no more "authentic" or "Aboriginal" than the shiploads of cheap, "Aboriginal" tourist trinkets that pour into our country from overseas.
Video's of Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin's previous performances.