Two of Russia's champion ice skaters have caused outrage after dressing as Aborigines for a competition.

The couple, who are favored to win gold at next month's winter Olympics, wear skin-toned suits with red loin cloths, white body paint and eucalyptus leaves.

But experts in Australia say Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin's movements and body decorations bear no resemblance to that of the Aborigines' 60,000 year old culture.

"They have got the whole thing wrong," said Stephen Page, artistic director of the respected indigenous group, the Bangarra Dance Company.

Page said the two and half minute routine's didgeridoo music sounded more like it came from India or Africa.

He added that the body paint looked like "a 3-year-old child had drawn it on".

Indigenous leader Bev Manton, of the New South Wales Land Council, said Aboriginal people were rightly sensitive about the appropriation of their cultural heritage.

She told the Sydney Morning Herald: "I am offended by the performance and so are our other counselors."

Domnina and Shabalin have defended their routine, which proved a hit with the crowd at the European championships in Estonia.

"Our coach offered us this music and we decided to try it. We researched it on the internet and got a lot of information," explained 27-year-old Shabalin.

"It wasn't our purpose that it be especially Australian, just a dance from many thousands of years ago."

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