Black Swan Dilemma: Who Did The Dancing?


Black Swan

You might have noticed the rumors circulating about the dancing scenes seen in the Black Swan.

Last week, ballet dancer of the New York City Ballet, Sarah Lane, double of Natalie Portman, declared that Oscar winner Portman only did 5% of the film’s total dancing, while the remaining 95% was Lane’s.This probably wouldn’t have happened if Portman didn’t win the Oscar, that was also awarded due to the actress ability to learn the choreography in a very short time. Undergoing tough training and difficult ballet moves.

Now it is time for director Darren Aronofsky and supporting character Mila Kunis to speak regarding this matter. According to Kunis, “Natalie danced. She was not dancing on the tips during the fouette, but she has performed in person every second of the choreography. Lane has not been called into question at all: she was a sort of safety net. If Nat couldn’t not do something, she was there. Even for me it was the same thing, I even had a double.”

To help Portman came also Aronofsky that delcared: “The truth is this. The editor gave me the number of shots. In the film there are 139 dance shots, 111 of them are with Natalie Portman and without alterations, the other 28 are with her double, Sarah Lane. Mathematically speaking 80% of them are with Natalie Portman.”

He continued, “the shots are long shots with the stunt that last rarely more than a second. There are two dance sequences longer and more complex for which we have used the replacement of the face. Even so, taking into account the duration, 90% are always Natalie Portman. ”

And in case some are not still convinced, Aronofsky added: “To be clear Natalie has danced on the tips. If you look at the final scene of the initial prologue, which lasts 85 seconds, and was danced entirely by Natalie, you will notice that she leaves the stage on the tips. It’s all her, not digital magic. I am responding to this to stop the controversy and defend my actress. Natalie struggled hard to give a great performance, both physically and emotionally, and I do not want anyone to think that she is not the one that is playing. It’s her. ”

There are two reasons why Lane might have decided to take all the merit for herself. She might not be very familiar with the post editing and might have thought she had actually danced much more, but in fact, her dancing wasn’t required. Or, seeing the Oscar awarded to Portman she might have felt it was partially thanks to her, and wanted people to know that. Lane never really attacked Portman, she just said she did most of the dancing.

Wherever the truth lies, this is obvious that the difficult dance scenes were danced by Lane; no matter what the training Portman had undergone, ballet dancers spend years to do just one move perfect, I don’t believe Portman had a hidden natural talent that let her do a difficult choreography in very little time.

This though doesn’t mean that Portman didn’t dance at all. The movie doesn’t have much dancing; it is only visible at the end of the movie. All that is before is training that could actually be Portman’s job, entirely. As for the grand finale Lane might have helped a little bit.

I’m not sure if Lane will let things go or will decide to even go against Aronofsky and continue to declare that she did most of the dancing and not Portman. We will see.

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