When the Russian pair of Domnina & Shabalin decided to do an Aboriginal dance at the European Championships in January, they drew criticism from Aboriginal leaders who found the dance and costumes offensive. Domnina and Shabalin toned down their costumes and removed their face paint, but made no changes to the dance itself.
Though they claimed to have done research, the dance they did didn’t really seem Aboriginal. And watching the dance Sunday night, one can understand why Aboriginal leaders were offended. At times, Shabalin led Domnina around by her ponytail. They mugged, stuck out their tongues and mimicked the hand over mouth gesture that was once associated with American Indians. The whole thing made me really uncomfortable. AND cultural insensitivity aside, the dance wasn’t well executed. There were several areas where their footwork seemed off and they weren’t in unison. See it here and you’ll understand what I mean.
After the dance ended, the audience was underwhelmed to say the least. Yet they were still scored higher than Belbin & Agosto who did a lively, and respectful Moldovan folk dance.
My hope for the medal outcomes this evening? I want a North American sweep! I would love to see Meryl Davis & Charlie White from the U.S. take the gold. I find them humble and utterly charming (if a little robotic), and they are totally the future of this sport (also, I love Charlie White's hair!). I wouldn't mind the current leaders, Canadians Virtue & Moir to take the silver, and gorgeous Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto to take home a bronze.
I definitely don't think the Russian team, current world champions or not, deserve to be on the medal stand.