Tatiana Navka and Andrei Burkovsky in "Ice Age"
The video opens up to two performers staring into the camera. The stage shimmers with ice awash in ambient light. You lean in, though, if only to notice that these two dancers are wearing striped holocaust costumes adorned with a golden Star of David.
This bizarre scene is courtesy of “Ice Age,” a Russian ice dancing show (think Dancing With The Stars with skates) where the two performers received perfect marks from the stunned judges. Tatiana Navka and Andrei Burkovsky are both world-class artists (Navka is a former Olympian), but this performance somehow fell through the proverbial cracks As the video leaked, the dismissal of the act started to trickle in.
Part of the reason this is so deeply offensive—it was based on Roberto Benigni’s 1997 masterpiece, Life Is Beautiful—is because for many, the holocaust was not a laughing matter. Who knew?
“Motifs from the Holocaust are not for parties, not for dance, and not for reality (television),” Miri Regev, the Israeli culture and sports minister, told Israel Army Radio. This after Karen Shakhnazarov, a judge at the performance, called it “a great film and a great performance that relays well the essence and the spirit of the film.”
At least one person agrees. Ilya Averbukh defended the routine, calling the reaction “craziness.”“I have done a lot of routines on the war and Jewish themes, there were very different characters,” the 2002 Olympic gold medalist stated. His opinion may have been helped along by the fact that he choreographed the routine.
In general, it’s just not funny to put on a show and smile a song centered around the Holocaust, no matter what the reason. “Not one of the 6 million danced, and a concentration camp is not a summer camp,” Regev stated, referring to the number of Jews killed by Nazis.