The debacle over this particular dance began last week as Domnina and Shabalin competed in Tallinn at the European Championships. The duo won the event using what many Indigenous Aboriginal leaders called "a dance offensive to Aboriginal people."
Despite the controversy, the duo plans to move forward with using this dance in Vancouver. Lack of time to change dances certainly was the leading factor in that decision.
While the Australian Olympic Committee will not be forcing the issue with Russian Olympic committee and asking them to make Oksana and Maxim ditch the program...they are asking them to change it a little. Bev Manton, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council Chairwoman told Tom Reilly of the Sydney Morning Herald:
We had considered asking the Australian Olympic Committee to intervene on behalf of Aboriginal people … but the fact is, the performance by Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, while offensive to Aboriginal people, is not illegal. It's also not unprecedented. Aboriginal culture is disrespected in Australia every day, in fact in many ways that's become a cultural norm.
What are some of the requests being asked of Domnina and Shabalin? Ditch the dark skin suits, also do away with the leaves and the feathers. They also want Oksana and Maxim to travel to Australia to meet with indigenous Aboriginal people to get a better cultural feel for their dance.
Olympic officials in Vancouver are also keeping a close eye on this story as they are insistent these games be in no way offensive to the traditions of the four First Nations indigenous peoples.
Some advice to Oksana and Max...tread carefully.
Take a look at the Dance in question.