More BLACK SWAN Controversy, and The Paris Opera Ballet’s COPPELIA

I’m still crazy busy but just wanted to point out two things. First, if you haven’t already heard, there’s now a storm of controversy over how much dancing Natalie Portman actually did in Black Swan. Dance Magazine EIC Wendy Perron wants more credit given to Sarah Lane, Portman’s ABT double (whose dancing I love; for image credits above, click on the photos). Portman didn’t mention Lane in her Oscar acceptance speech (though she did mention the dancers in general) but, further, there was apparently also a special effects video produced about the making of the film in which Lane’s face was never shown, though her dancing body was, and in which Lane was never credited. Lane seems not to want to say too much, says she was asked to remain silent on the issue, to not talk about the film, particularly before the Oscars. Lane gave an interview to Dance Magazine in December about her role in the movie, saying she wasn’t “looking for any sort of recognition.” Millepied of course defends his muse, saying Lane did “just the footwork.”

Lane also mentioned in that Dance Magazine interview that Maria Riccetto did some of Mila Kunis’s dancing, which I didn’t know. Both Portman and Kunis must be very petite women!

Anyway, will the controversy surrounding this film ever end? Hopefully not! It’s keeping ballet in the minds of the public, if you ask me…

Thanks to reader Jeff (who I noticed is also mentioned in Perron’s blog, linked to above) for pointing me to the controversy.

Also, this Monday, March 28th, the Paris Opera Ballet will live-stream its Coppelia, via Emerging Pictures’ always excellent Ballet in Cinema series. Curtain is Paris time at 7:30 p.m., which is 1:30 p.m. here on the east coast. In Manhattan, it’s showing at the Big Theater again. For other times and locations, visit the Ballet in Cinema website.

Okay, all I have time for now. Thanks for continuing to read my blog while I remain swamped 🙂


  1. This is big as knowing Kevin Bacon danced all the steps in “Footloose”, or the chick in Flashdance! The oscar people lie like hell to get their movie promoted for awards. If the movie is good, then we as the general public are looking at it like wrestlers in WWE, for sure it’s staged well, but we still get excited to see it!

  2. Natalie Portman has credited Sarah Lane on more than one occasion.
    “So there’s a wonderful dancer, Sarah Lane, who did the more complicated pointe work. But I did the stuff that was possible to learn in a year.”
    “…the dance double — Sarah Lane, who’s a really wonderful dancer — they shot us both doing everything, but because most of the film is in close-up, they’re able to use me. The parts I couldn’t do were because it’s doing very complicated turns on pointe. They would shoot me doing it in flat shoes and Sarah doing it in pointe shoes and find a way to make that work.”

    Sarah Lane did 95% of the danse? Sarah says that all the shot where we see all the body was her. She forgets the other double Kimberly Prosa?

  3. Yes Natalie Portman is very short, she’s 5’3″

    Sarah was talked about it… she was mentioned in DanceSpirit in the article about the movie…

  4. What I find interesting is why this is such a big deal. Audiences for years in Hollywood have accepted singers being used for actor’s voices in song. Why should it be any different in dance? Does anybody really think that Portman, or anybody else could train classically for one year and then convincingly play a prima ballerina in any realistic way? Even if she did train when she was a little girl? Please. Someone turn the light on. I just don’t understand what the big commotion is.

  5. Well Sarah Lane is the one making a big deal about it. Disparaging and insulting Natalie because she’s not a professional ballet dancer; only acting one.

    It’s easy to condemn big, bad Hollywood but please try and be balanced and read/listen/watch what Natalie Portman has said in interviews.

  6. Interesting article…

    “I’m not really looking for any sort of recognition. The process was a huge learning experience and I got everything I wanted out of it. But she deserves the recognition. She worked really hard.”

  7. Jeffrey Orling RA

    The issue is that Sarah was told to not speak to the press and there was clearly and attempt to project how Portman miraculously learned so much ballet in a year. The issue is not the deception, but the scale of it and why it was done.

    Since the movie was built on Nina being a prima ballerina the dance WAS supposedly a key aspect of the film, not a stunt or a song sung in passing. Lane should have been given due credit which would not have diminished Portman’s acting (which I didn’t find that impressive either).

    Hollywood is a machine for exploitation – of talent, and of the public. Expecting that is and accepting that. I don’t and vote with my wallet. I see almost no Hollywood productions.

  8. Interesting article…

    “I’m not really looking for any sort of recognition. The process was a
    huge learning experience and I got everything I wanted out of it. But
    she deserves the recognition. She worked really hard.”

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