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Russian Figure Skaters’ Aboriginal-Themed Performance Creates Controversy

20. January 2010 by Christy 0 Comments

russian figure skaters aboriginal routine

Russian figure skaters Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin will compete in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, but their new, Aboriginal-themed routine has sparked outrage in Australia and in the ice skating community.

The Russians debuted their new performance at Russia’s national ice skating competition, a competition the pair easily won. However, while their performance was strong, the duo‘s dark bodysuits and so-called authentic Aboriginal markings offended many members of Australia’s Aboriginal community.

''Aboriginal people for very good reason are sensitive about their cultural objects and icons being co-opted by non-Aboriginal people - whether they are from Australia or Russia,” said Bev Manton, chairwoman of the NSW Land Council. “'I am offended by the performance and so are our other councilors.”

Members of the Aboriginal community are not the only people disturbed by the routine. In 2008, Australian figure skaters Danielle O'Brien and Greg Merriman debuted their own Aboriginal-themed dance, and figure skating insiders believe that Domnina and Shabalin “borrowed” the idea. Though Domnina and Shabalin have not directly responded to allegations, the duo claims they considered many styles of international dancing before choosing Australia.


Source: The Age

View the controversial routine below.