Do not pay tribute to the Australian Aborigines without asking permission.
Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, the favorites for ice-dancing gold in Vancouver, have learned this the hard way.
They’ve been accused of “cultural theft” by performing a skating tribute to the Aborgines in the European Championships.
The problem seems to be that there were no traditional moves in their routine, the music reportedly sounded like it came from India or Africa and the body paint is being described by critics as “something a five-year-old had drawn.”
“They have got the whole thing wrong,” said Stephen Page
, artistic director of respected indigenous group the Bangarra Dance Company. “
from the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, described
the dance as “very offensive.” “We see it as stealing Aboriginal culture, and it is yet another example of the Aboriginal culture of Australia being exploited.”
We can’t tell from music and dance moves but we do have a tiny problem with the dark-toned bodysuits, red loincloths and plastic leaves.
Domnina and Shabalin are required to do an original dance representative of a country’s culture, but it is not required to be a strict interpretation. And, as Shabalin explains, they had done their homework but had never intended it to be an authentic Australian Aboriginal dance.
“We researched a lot of information on the Internet. It’s just from many thousands of years ago… Our dance is not specifically an Australian Aboriginal dance, it is an aboriginal dance.”
Maybe if they’d used some didgeridoos. Kidding, only kidding!
Photo credits: Getty Images