Wednesday, 2 February 2011


This controversy sprang up a year ago, but I was reminded of it when my class started learning a melaya leff:

For the record, I think the skaters weren't intending to offend but they were incredibly ignorant and thoughtless: purporting to represent a 'melange of ethnicities' is beyond arrogant, and the brown body stockings and suspiciously dark face makeup are breathtakingly crude.

So how is it different when I, a kiwi, 'drags up' in a melaya leff or a galabeya for a hafla performance? Does the fact that someone's taught me a folkloric dance or a melaya to go along with the outfit make it any better?

In my opinion, Carl Bridge is slightly wide of the mark there when he describes the patterns on their costumes as being like something from New Zealand (i.e. Maori). They look more like Keith Haring to me:

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