Black Swan Dancing Controversy Heats Up

Art is imitating life once again in the catfight brewing between Natalie Portman and her Black Swan dancing double, American Ballet Theatre soloist Sarah Lane (main image).

Lane says she deserves much more credit than she was given for her contribution to the film. She was hired to perform complicated dance sequences that would be impossible for anyone other than a lifelong ballerina to do.

But Lane says she also did the majority of the dancing in the film. She estimates Portman did only 5% of the full-body shots.

They wanted to create this idea in people’s minds that Natalie was some kind of prodigy or so gifted in dance and really worked so hard to make herself a ballerina in a year and a half for the movie, basically because of the Oscar, Lane told Entertainment Weekly. It is demeaning to the profession and not just to me. I’ve been doing this for 22 years…. Can you become a concert pianist in a year and a half, even if you’re a movie star?

Lane’s heated comment came after a story in the Los Angeles Times this week that quoted Black Swan‘s choreographer. Benjamin Millepied (who is also Portman’s fiancé© and baby daddy) said Portman did 85% of the dancing.

Black Swan‘s studio, Fox Searchlight, released a statement after receiving Lane’s comments via e-mail: We were fortunate to have Sarah there to cover the more complicated dance sequences and we have nothing but praise for the hard work she did. However, Natalie herself did most of the dancing featured in the final film.

But just like in Black Swan, you’re not sure who to believe. Only this time it isn’t hauntingly entertaining – it’s filled with wildly differing statements and conspiracy-theory-esque claims.

Dance Magazine Editor-in-Chief Wendy Perron wrote a scathing entry in early March (before Lane’s comments), basically saying that Black Swan‘s audience is clueless about how much ballet a person is actually able to perform with only a year’s worth of training.

Perron talks about a video that circulated briefly before being removed. The video featured face replacement, in which Portman’s face is essentially superimposed on Lane’s body when she is dancing the final Black Swan solo at the end of the film.

But apparently, the video that showed the face replacement was only available for one day before being pulled.

Perron also makes a good point about Portman’s Oscars thank you speech. Portman thanks a long list of people, but Lane’s left out. An innocent mistake, or, as Perron suggests, a deliberate manoeuvre by studio PR? Either way, Lane says she felt cheated a little bit.

Lane says she was instructed by Black Swan producer Ari Handel to not give any interviews until after the Oscars, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Well, I knew why. I had read a lot of articles that Natalie had done where she said she did 90 per cent of the dancing. And never mentioned my name once. Nobody ever mentioned my name hardly ever, Lane told the Wall Street Journal. I don’t want people to think that I’m here to trash Natalie and get fame for myself. I do want people to know that you cannot absolutely become a professional ballet dancer in a year and a half no matter how hard you work.

What a pickle. At least the potential mental derangement is left out in the real-life Black Swan conflict (that we know of). Who do you think is telling the truth?

Tags: American Ballet Theatre, ballerina, ballet, Benjamin Millepied, Black Swan, catfight, celeb, choreography, conflict, daily whisper, dance, Dance Magazine, dancing, dancing double, Entertainment Weekly, face replacement, Fox Searchlight, gossip, Los Angeles Times, Natalie Portman, Sarah Lane, Sarah Robinson, Wall Street Journal, Wendy Perron

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Comments

  1. Avatar
    • Anonymous
    • January 1, 1970
    Reply
    I have done ballet myself, long enough (try 18 years) to say it’s bloody grueling work. A year and a half of training is definitely not enough training to be considered a professional no matter how hard you work. In fact, it’s a bit of a health hazard. When you go up on pointe (i.e on your toes), you need at least 5 years of training, otherwise you can seriously injure yourself – the worse being crippling your own two feet. I’m not trashing anyone.
  2. Avatar
    • Anonymous
    • January 1, 1970
    Reply
    I have done ballet myself, long enough (try 18 years) to say it’s bloody grueling work. A year and a half of training is definitely not enough training to be considered a professional no matter how hard you work. In fact, it’s a bit of a health hazard. When you go up on pointe (i.e on your toes), you need at least 5 years of training, otherwise you can seriously injure yourself – the worse being crippling your own two feet. I’m not trashing anyone.

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