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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Movies: Black Swan

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My Hubby and I are going to go to see this movie on the afternoon of the 24th - is that just wrong? Seems wrong, but the kids (now adults) are both out of town so we're spending the 23rd in an actual city and we get to go see this on the 24th! Merry Christmas to me! :yes:

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I really enjoyed this movi. I thought that the "bad stereotypical" things that are often in ballet movies were really just portrayed in Natalie Portman's character. It is clear if you see it that she suffers from some serious mental issues and even her mom, who is supposed to be a "stage mom" also comes across as pretty insane. I did enjoy it! Definately a thriller with ballet just as a backdrop-not a ballet movie. I do agree it would have been fun to seem some real performance, but I understand wanting to focus more on Natalie's face. There is so much going on psychologically that this is really where the focus needs to lie.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Saw it today & just thought it was OK. Definitely not for kids or even those under 17 IMO. I found the costuming beautiful & Vincent Cassel is brilliant IMO (although I'm glad the artistic directors I know aren't like his character). However, the story was just too disturbing for me. It did give me some pause about how I should act as a dance mom.

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I saw the movie tonight. I loved it. Ballet is the background, it was well done. Natalie Portman was amazing, so intense. I had to close my eyes several times, I am not good with thriller type movies. If it were in my budget I would see it again.

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I was dissappointed watching the movie. There are too much upper body shots of Natalie and too little dancing. The overall theme seems to be valid, yet the linkage among them, such as body cuts, just appears to be weak. The climax was good but build-ups were too predictable and unconvincing.

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My Hubby and I agree with you tzbutterfly. I posted this on the Black Swan topic on the Adult Students Buddy Board:


Hubby and I went to see this film. Hubby's comments were very interesting. When a friend asked how he liked it, hubby said "not enough dancing". When I asked him what he thought of Portman's character, he said "that shows you what a lousy diet will do to you". He feels not getting enough nutrition will cause psychological problems and could cause hallucinations. He also felt Barbara Hershey's role was the cause of a lot of Portman's "problems". He said if the parents over protect the child, you could end up with someone like Portman's character. I thought these observations were very interesting, and after thinking about it, I agree with everything he said. Loved the film. I really loved the filming of the footwork while the dancer was doing the fouettés. It really made me want to dance!

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You guys have been driving me crazy talking about this movie. I've FINALLY gotten my hands on it and have seen it (I live in a country where all our movies are sold on the streets not so legally). Anyway, I rather enjoyed it. It was meant to be a thriller/horror and it was perfect.. I was so tense and anxious through the whole movie, and the characters were so perfectly messed up! I like that it became difficult to separate what was real and what wasn't through Nina's skewed perspective, and honestly, I was surprised that they could pull off the dancing. Millepied did a great job choreographing for non-dancers. The soundtrack was astounding.. it was like Tchaikovsky's cloistered evil twin introducing his version of Swan Lake. The opening song's take on the pas was so eerily familiar and not.


I enjoyed the movie on many levels, but it is an R rating for sure. There's a lot of dementia and instability (besides sexual content) that I wouldn't be comfortable having a teenager see. I think they're flocking to see it anyway though, just because it's a "dance movie". Technically, I wouldn't necessarily call this a dance movie. It's solidly a horror/thriller, very well done cinematically, with much appreciated ballet themed eye-candy. :(


My husband is a film maker, and he was most impressed with the camera movement frenetically following the dancers on stage. He also loved the way the camera "spots" during her first attempt at the 32 fouetté Black Swan coda. I was blown away by Arronofsky showing the close up on pointe of Nina practicing fouettés at home.. I never realized that some dancers came that much off the ground during turns! Look again: She clears like, 2 inches when she springs up en pointe. Jeez!!!

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I was blown away by Arronofsky showing the close up on pointe of Nina practicing fouettés at home.. I never realized that some dancers came that much off the ground during turns! Look again: She clears like, 2 inches when she springs up en pointe. Jeez!!!
YES - I found this part mesmerizing! Here's a link about the camera work during the movie:

black swan anatomy of a scene

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I jusr saw Black Swan. I expected pretty much everything since I have read so many reviews and comments on this site. I knew one of the dancers from Pa Ballet so that was fun to pick her out. It was entertaining.

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I would like to see Black Swan for the dancing - and it is not going to happen, according to my mom. :/ It is called a psychosexual thriller so I am pretty sure I am not going to argue with her on this one.


That is exactly how I feel. I really want to see it, but thats only because someone told me the dancing is amazing. So I can (and will have to) wait a looong time :(

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If you go to see it for the dancing, you will probably be disappointed. Not because the dance doubles don't do a good job (they dance beautifully) but because there isn't very much dancing shown, and the choreography is mostly very bad.

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I have removed a series of posts that were way off topic until such time as the Moderators have had a chance to review and discuss.


Please carry on the discussion about the movie.

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Sorry for getting off the track. About the "movie" itself, without giving any SPOILERS. One of the things that bothered me both times I saw it, was the stage door that they used and how the camera focused on it when Nina goes inside for the first time. That is not how you get into the State/Koch theatre. The stage door is down a flight of stairs. I know that they did not shoot the interior shots inside the State/Koch theatre, but it was implied that she was at a NYC company at Lincoln Center, and I assumed NYCB. (That is not the stage door to the MET where ABT performs either). I guess neither of the real stage doors are prominent enough to look good on the big screen. It's a minor detail but it still stuck out to me. Even though they shot the interior shots somewhere else, I did find it believable as inside the State/Koch theatre because it is dark and twisty like that.


I thought that the NYC apartment where Nina and her mother lived was quite typical of a lot of Manhattan apartments that I have seen. They did a good job with that.


On one of the reviews I read one person wrote that it was unbelievable that a 23 year old soloist would live with her mom. On the contrary, lots of young (and some not so young) performing artists do live with parents in NYC because the rent is so astronomical. I didn't find that to be strange--but in Nina's case it was not her financial situation that had her living at home.

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I think the bit about a 23 year old soloist living with her parent was from an article interviewing two professional dancers (I forget which). The stage doors thing was amusing to my husband and I as well, but we agreed that those giant doors they used were more cinematic & imposing. The tight focus on the dancers faces with the choice of hand held camera work made for a great combination in highlighting Portman's acting skills as well as increasing uneasiness for the viewer. The way the camera unsteadily moves and follows her around made me feel like an unintentional voyeur in the damaged life of Nina. You just want to take these characters by the shoulders and yell "Get professional help!" for being so broken!


The scenes shot in the apartment were great, really capturing the claustrophobic & sheltered atmosphere the mother & Nina shared mentally (from their unhealthy relationship) as well as circumstantially living in NYC. That apartment, however, wasn't even as cramped as some of my friends' places in the city. :( I agree with LuceroBlanco about Nina living at home - I got the impression that the mother's day job was stagemommy and that they both were living off of Nina's salary. That may not have been the case. In any event, I think the movie made it clear that they were definitely living together not because of financial reasons but because "Mommy" had her claws embedded deep into Nina's sequestered and abused psyche.


I hope this doesn't ruin it for anyone, but if you haven't seen it yet, you've got to watch the way Portman can flip her character from childlike, to broken, to wicked, to compulsive, and even to lustful in half a second. Yikes! I don't think I've seen a performance like that this year! In regards to Hans' comment.. heh, the pas de deux with the double arm wavey movement was pretty hilarious. Football game anyone? -Wave-

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Those were great comments LaFilleSylphide. One thing I forgot to mention was when Natalie was dropped during the performance. My belief was she wasn't focused and caused her partner to drop her. However, it was confusing to my hubby, who is a layman when it comes to ballet, but not as much as most people off the street. I know they wanted more drama during the performance, but I think more definition as to why she was dropped would have helped. Anyone else have an opinion as to this part of the movie? :grinning:

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