Sarah Lane is a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre and she was also Natalie Portman’s dance double on “Black Swan”. Now she is upset at not getting the recognition she thinks she deserves, as she claims that it is her body we see for virtually all of the dance scenes.
Now, this is a difficult one and I have to admit it pricked my conscience. I don’t know much about ballet but I know enough to know that Portman, with just a few months ballet training, could not have danced that brilliantly. But it had not really featured in my thinking to ask who the real dancer was.
Now we know it is Sarah Lane. She is claiming that Portman only did around “5 per cent” of the actual ballet dancing. The film-makers aren’t disagreeing with Lane, actually, sayings he deserves “most” of the credit for the dancing. “We have nothing but praise for the hard work she did,” a studio representative said. “However, Natalie herself did most of the dancing featured in the final film.”
Natalie Portman has so far declined to comment but her fiancé Benjamin Millepied, with whom she is expecting her first child, choreographed the movie. He says:
“Honestly, 85 percent of that movie is Natalie.”
They could both be right, of course. After all, what are we saying here? Are we saying the dancing was more important than the human emotion story of the movie? Did Natalie not deserve her Oscar if we had been more aware that the dancing wasn’t all her? That’s not really what has cinema-goers hooked or what impressed the Academy is it?