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Russian ice dancers don't let controversy faze them

January 21, 2010 | 10:36 am

Russian ice dancers Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin may be in the lead at the European Figure Skating Championships in Estonia, but their original dance to Australian aboriginal music has drawn the ire of a culture half a world away.

The couple have a two-point lead over Italy's Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali heading into Friday's free dance after a routine that has been criticized in Australia. Aboriginal leaders have complained about the dance in the Australian news media, saying it contains inauthentic dance steps and costuming.

Domnina and Shabalin said they weren't aware of the controversy and didn't appear to be too fazed by it. Shabalin said the couple used the Internet to make the dance as authentic as possible. Neither of the dancers has been to Australia.

Still, the judges were impressed, giving the program content high marks.

Here's their aboriginal-themed original dance from the Russian Championships three weeks ago. What do you think?

-- Austin Knoblauch

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