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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Movies: Black Swan

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Here's another blog about it:




After reading a couple of these, I think it's interesting that all the professional dancers who were asked their opinion BEFORE when the movie first came out, about the dancing, was that it was not good and not professional. So now Ms. Lane claims that she did 95% of the dancing. So what does that say about HER dancing??? Lots of people (including those on ballet boards online) said they could tell the dancing in Black Swan was not done by a professional. :)

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Sarah Lane actually said 95% of the full body shots are her. That is quite different from saying she did 95% of what the film's producers consider dancing.

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Yes--I've noticed a lot of them are getting it wrong. Whether it's because of maliciousness or lack of attention to detail (or perhaps both) I don't know.

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This all made me think of The Turning Point made in 1977. It was nominated for 11 Oscars and although it didn't win one, they did get BAFTA's and Golden Globes. Anne Bancroft was simply brilliant as the ageing ballerina and Shirley Maclaine's performance really spoke to my own heart (as I too gave up performing when I got married). I have no idea if they used a double for any scenes for Anne Bancroft - the arm movements she did didn't look convincing to me, bad shoulders in particular, but somehow it didn't matter. Her acting transcended it. I think it was totally unnecessary to try and convince everyone that Portman had become a pro dancer overnight. If she deserved an Oscar for her acting, she deserved an Oscar - it was surely not meant for her dancing ability. By the way in The Turning Point they cleverly used real pro dancers for leading roles and two of these were actually nominated for Oscars for their acting performances - Leslie Brown and Baryshnikov.

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I agree with Hamorah re Turning Point's use of dancers. Unlike the Black Swan, the Turning Point also showcased many different ballets and several ballet stars of the time, particularly in the Gala scenes, as well as the full scale ballet production scenes. You can't really fake any of that dancing through quick camera shots, upper body shots and clever editing.

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I waited until it came out on DVD a few days ago. I decided to watch it first by myself before I saw it with my daughter. Not because of the sexuality but because she doesn't like scary movies. I wondered if the story of the ballet and backstage stuff would be worth being a little frightened.


Like I said I wasn't too worried about the sexual stuff because my 12 yo dd knows the facts of life and we had seen some risque movies like "La Cage au Faux" and "The Full Monty." Well, am I glad I watched it first. The Portman other girl scene in bed was just jaw dropping. I squirmed just thinking that my daughter was in the same house.


I really did love the backstage stuff and I even liked the ending. Silly yet oddly satisfying.


My dd can see it when she can rent it out without me.

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If she deserved an Oscar for her acting, she deserved an Oscar - it was surely not meant for her dancing ability.


I think the problem is that a few articles/critics have been suggesting that her 'transformation' into a ballerina would have influence the voting panel (or whatever they have) for the Oscar.


Meh - I think Jennifer Lawrence should have had it anyway :P

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^ Honestly I don't think so. They never said that she had "transformed" into a ballerina. It was clear from the beginning she had a double. Even if she had "transformed" into a ballerina--the dancing has nothing to do with her ability to act the part of the ballerina. If I were playing the role of a brain surgeon--if I had gone to medical school for four years and then came to the movie--I could still be a horrible actor and unable to "portray" a brain surgeon on screen even if I actually were one in real life. In my opinion, the fact that she was NOT a ballerina and able to convince people she was (in the non-dancing scenes) shows why she deserves accolades for her acting.

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Hey :P I was surprised to read articles stating that the 'transformative' aspect of her role would have helped secure her the Oscar, too. I don't know how accurate it is (I don't know how they make their decision) - I'm only saying that this is what some articles/critics are claiming - which explains the fuss around her double's claims.


Personally, I preferred Winter's Bone :(

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I wish the double would have kept quiet. Those of us who know better know Natalie Portman is not capable of dancing on as elite a level that was being shown, so we all knew it was a double. The rest of the general public doesn't care and frankly, doesn't need to know- as long as they're talking about ballet!


Oh, and I may actually rent this movie, because I can fast forward past the completely gratuitous "we'd better put this stuff in so that the public will watch because noone's gonna watch a film about ballet" scenes, and cut to the dancing.

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I may have missed a whole discussion you've had about this, and if I have - 'Sorry!'.


A video supposedly of Natalie Portman dancing at 'Dance Camp' has gone onto Youtube. It's not very well shot and it's a bit difficult to see which one she is.



I'll feel really stupid if you've all already seen this . . .

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This is a video that should have never surfaced! They are not good for their age and the choreography is an embarrassment (whoever their teacher/choreographer was). But I could tell from the beginning which one was Natalie Portman--and even though the dancing overall is not very advanced, she is the best dancer of them all in my opinion. There is one girl on there who is looking at the others' feet for 2 two dances.

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I bought the DVD and the most shocking thing is that Sarah Lane is only mentioned on the list of acknowledgments as "Lady in the Lane". Whatever she did, this is a humiliation and I think she should stand up for herself no matter what! I disagree with Clara, because if we take it for granted and just let them "talk about ballet" it will never be taken seriously!

When the movie "The Game Plan" came out, my DK was dancing at Boston Ballet and had a very, very small role in that movie. Guess what? The name and pictures were all over the place and for sure on the list of acknowledgments...and DK was not the only one.

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Tarantella, the problem is that Sarah Lane signed a contract. In her contract it would have been indicated how she would be credited. She did get mentioned as Lady in the Lane because that was a bit part. Being a double is NOT considered a part and many doubles are not mentioned. She should have had someone with more knowledge review her contract if she did not like how she was going to be credited. What I think, and this is just my opinion, that was when she was asked to be on the project she probably never thought it would become so popular and therefore did not think how she wanted to be credited. Or else she thought it was going to be horrible and did not WANT her name in the credits. Sometimes people will work under the circumstances that they get paid and not be credited because they are afraid that the end result might be a blemish to their career, but they do it, because they need the work.


I don't think she should have spoken up in the way she did. It is unprofessional to do so after signing a contract. That's like agreeing to get paid $1000 for a gig and then afterwards you realize you should have been paid more. Too late, you signed the contract. If she is going to fight it, she should have gotten a lawyer and taken them to court (although she would have lost probably, since she signed the contract). It is tasteless in my opinion to come out and try to discredit Natalie Portman. Not that I am a great NP fan, however it is not her fault that Sarah Lane signed a contract that did not give her the credit that she wants for her dancing.

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