A claim by Natalie Portman’s ballet double from the movie Black Swan alleging that the Oscar-winning actress did not perform the majority of that film’s dance sequences has quickly been challenged. Sarah Lane, the American Ballet Theatre soloist who doubled for Portman during some of that film’s most difficult dance sequences, told Entertainment Weekly that the Oscar-winning actress did only 5 percent “of the full body shots” in the film. But the filmmakers insist that simply isn’t the case, saying in a joint statement released by Fox Searchlight, “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.”
Lane decided to speak out after a recent story in the Los Angeles Times quoted Portman’s fiancé and Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millipied saying “85 percent of that movie is Natalie.”
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. 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?”
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.