Believe it or not, these are not a couple of wannabes from some half-assed local ice capades show. Meet Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, the Russian favorites to win gold in this year's Olympic ice dancing competition. I don't know them, or know very much about them, but I don't like them.
I came across a story about them in this morning's Washington Post. Seems there is some controversy about whether this Aboriginal-themed routine is culturally insensitive. Of course it is. Let's not look to ice dancers (Russian or not) for insight into the native cultures of faraway lands. My problem is that I can tell from a single photo that the routine is also offensive in terms of self-indulgence. These two don't really care about anything but the spotlight and the applause.
2nd proof point on tastelessness: A quick youtube search revealed that another routine of theirs is themed to The Matrix and performed in sunglasses and back plastic costumes under green spotlights. Ugh. Don't make me dig any deeper, please.
Yeah, I know I covered this ground in an earlier post on my hater's view of interpretive dance, and all the same rules and logic apply. I can easily avoid that in my normal day-to-day routine, but the annoying way NBC edits its Olympics telecast will probably force me to sit through a few of these routines. And I won't like it.
I understand that the topic (figure skating and ice dancing) can get me into some dangerous territory on gay/straight stereotypes. I'm sure some of our readers are fans. Don't get me wrong. I know it's not easy and the training is intense. I'm not advocating for the complete separation of art and athletics. And I'm certainly not beyond reproach on some of the outfits I slap together. But c'mon, if you're an elite skater trying to knock my socks off with gimmicks and outlandish attire rather than your stronger, higher, faster routine... think again. Let's keep the focus on athletics when a gold medal is at stake.
No one wants to see "Dockers On Ice," but is anyone really surprised that the over-the-top indulgence of ice dancing could lead to an aesthetic tragedy like this?
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