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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Movies: Black Swan


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I am going to say this.

 

I believe that Natalie did a lot more dancing than professional dancers and teachers want to accept. It can be very unsettling for someone who has danced for 20 years plus to see someone else become so amazing in such a short period of time. Do I think Natalie did all of the moves? No. Do I think Natalie did most of the moves? Yes. Do I think that if Natalie put in a few more years of hard core training she could dance some dancers who have been dancing for a decade off the stage? Yes.

 

Perhaps she did not use the most healthy approach to getting in dancer shape but the thing that is scary for many is that it worked for her and there have been no negative consequences. She learned to dance pointe in less than a year and she suffered no injuries.

 

What would happen if a group of women with the time, money, and resources got together in their early 20s and dedicated their lives to learning ballet? I am talking hard core training.

 

I think this movie proves that if you do have the time, money, and resources you can be a late bloomer and go very far. I think this concept outrages people who live by the theory that you can go no where with ballet unless you begin at age 7.

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good editing can do wonders, too. :wink:

 

One more thing which has come out of this: it is now obvious that one cannot really without-a-doubt tell exactly who is who and who-does-what on film.

The techniques of making illusions are so advanced, that it is like air-brushing photos, but more so.

 

Illusions are nice, but not trickery.

 

But, that is one reason I muuuuch prefer live dance performances to film - the illusions are usually there to further the story, and not to trick the audience, so-to-speak.

 

:unsure:

 

-d-

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Here's my opinion. Waist up and on flat = Natalie. Anything involving actual extended dancing on pointe = Sarah, regardless of whose face you see.

 

Natalie = more talented and experienced in dance than Sarah gives her credit for

Sarah = ruder than she needed to be, yet somewhat accurate. If she had just said that you don't leave ballet for 15+ yrs and then train for 18 months and become a Sarah Lane, then that would be true and not rude.

 

I think it's unrealistic to whomever claimed that a dedicated woman re-entering ballet in her late twenties (after not having danced since age 13) armed with a lot of gumption, time and money could dance lifetime-trained dancers off the stage.

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I was always told, and believed it, that after a certain age, it became increasingly harder to change the way your bone structure and muscles worked in your body. For example, that long lean look that even small dancers have, because of their muscle formation, doesn't just get that way in a year or two. And that it takes years to establish the flexibility and turnout muscles. After a certain age, I would think your body would be less responsive to new ways of moving. And as we age, don't our muscles naturally lose strength?

 

Oh that 20-year olds could change their career paths that easily and decide to become dancers and do so at that age. How could they possibly make up for the year-by-year progression of skills? Seems to me if you try and take up dance in your 20's, you will be able to dance, but would have to cut a lot of corners and cheat (using appearance over form) in order to compete with dancers who have trained their whole life. And then when you get beyond the pretty look, to the really difficult moves, without strong technique you won't be able to execute them.

 

After 15 years of watching my DD work continuously to develop her skills, it is hard to imagine that someone could do it overnight.

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This may just be MY take on things, but I wonder how much of this is coming from the $$$$ aspect?? It states Sarah made $4000.00 per week for 6 weeks work?? The movie/Natalie made mega more...

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This reminds me of the controversy about 25 years ago when the movie Flashdance came out and Jennifer Beals did not do the dancing and originally Marine Jahan did not get credit for it. I hope I am not the only one on this forum old enough to remember this.

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It is certainly true that adult beginners can make significant progress, especially if they are younger and put a lot of time and effort into it. I know of at least one who was even able to become a professional ballet dancer. I certainly don't think such a thing is outrageous, but this person was born with a good physique, and she certainly put more than one year into her training! Portman's dancing was clearly good enough for the very basic and simplified demands of the movie, but to suggest that she looked like a professional dancer, even from the waist up, shows a lack of discernment when it comes to watching ballet. Was it necessary for her to look like a professional for the film? Of course not, and no one should expect her to. She worked very hard, and her efforts paid off enough for the purposes of the movie. So I don't see why anyone's feathers should be ruffled by the suggestion that she does not look like a professional ballet dancer when it would be unreasonable and unnecessary to expect that in the first place.

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but to suggest that she looked like a professional dancer, even from the waist up, shows a lack of discernment when it comes to watching ballet.

 

Haha, I think you mean me and my very general statement, and my skills at discernment are just fine. Maybe time to leave this discussion before it (and I) become pretentious.

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I did not mean you, or any one person in particular. If you are referring to what you said in your previous post, I agree with you.

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Portman's dancing was clearly good enough for the very basic and simplified demands of the movie, but to suggest that she looked like a professional dancer, even from the waist up, shows a lack of discernment when it comes to watching ballet

 

I would agree with you. You could probably see differences that I would never notice. Also there is something about a professional dancer's movements that just can't be copied. That's why they are professionals.

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Portman's dancing was clearly good enough for the very basic and simplified demands of the movie, but to suggest that she looked like a professional dancer, even from the waist up, shows a lack of discernment when it comes to watching ballet. Was it necessary for her to look like a professional for the film? Of course not, and no one should expect her to.

 

I would agree with that. She is not a professional dancer, ergo she did not look like a professional dancer. That's not a slight on her - it's just a fact. To the vast majority of the audience a tutu and a bun = ballerina. They're not looking closely at her body and movement.

 

This reminds me of the controversy about 25 years ago when the movie Flashdance came out and Jennifer Beals did not do the dancing and originally Marine Jahan did not get credit for it. I hope I am not the only one on this forum old enough to remember this.

 

I was reading about this recently, because I saw the video and basically wanted an exercise video to make my body look like that! Aaaaaand then I read that the body shots were basically composites of two different professional dancers and one gymnast. Funniest of all, one of them was a man - who had a rather manly moustache which he retained while wearing the costume for the shots in the audition scene! :thumbsup:

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luceroblanco

I do remember when Flashdance came out, and actually I went to college with Jennifer Beals and we were in an aerobics class once and I could tell then there was no way she did the dancing in the movie! But who cares? She was pretty and the role did not require an academy award actress and she did fine.

 

I didn't read the comments Sarah Lane made about Natalie Portman--just this thread. I saw Black Swan twice and honestly the second time I saw it I really sympathized with Nina and I didn't even notice the ballet scenes. It was about her emotional demise. The first time I saw it I definitely noticed that Natalie Portman did not look like a professional dancer when dancing but I felt she did a good job considering. Her port de bras was not the greatest. I assumed that all the stuff on pointe was the body double.

 

I will read later Sarah Lane's comments. I never heard of her before this film, and from what you say she is a good dancer. I think she can probably kiss her chances of working on too many movies good-bye if she really did say the rude things that you ladies are alluding to. You step on the wrong feet in Hollywood and you won't be walking around in too many films after that...

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Folks, I've been following this since it was first discussed in dance magazines and on blogs, and then followed the stuff into the more mainstream press, which (in my opinion) is selectively choosing/editing some of Lane's statements.

 

Here is what, to me and to a few others who write on this, followed in the press -- I'm trying to present this as I saw it, without my own opinion, but obviously some of that comes through:

 

Portman credited for hard dance training, acknowledgement of dance doubles, including a video on youtube showing special effects and head replacement.

Both Portman and Lane interviewed. Videos, as well as dancers on the set, showing that Lane did pointework, and turns (a great deal of the dancing in the film!). Lane talking about the difficulty of filming fouettes over and over and over.

Then - Oscar nomination, and thus, many of Lanes interviews were cancelled because film folks wanted focus to be on Portman. Emphasis grows on dance training in one year, the amount she did

This is where Lane becomes upset -- early dance blogs (Wendy Perron on Dance Mag's was great) talk about the embargo, and Lane is clearly articulated as stating that the training for being a dancer is much more intense than one year.... that same blog eventually re-finds the video about special effects (which had been taken down for a bit).

 

Okay, so far, so good, and all understandable, Lane said she understood the embargo, that the film wasn't about her, etc.

 

THEN - everything hits mainstream press, Lane is getting more interviews, and it's all scandal in lights and glitter.

 

I guess what I'm saying is that the context is everything, and starting at the end point about the scandal in mainstream press is totally understandable -- it's mainstream for a reason -- but perhaps misses some of the more nuanced statements that were happening earlier.

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