Stecyk

My (Double) Life as a Black Swan - By Sarah Lane

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>IMO the television interviews of both Jennifer Ringer and Sarah Lane have shown the world

>that there are beautiful, intelligent, real women in ballet. I'm not comparing their issues,

>personal styles etc. Just the fact that these two lovely women give a glimpse into the real

>people who work as ballet dancers.

I'm in total agreement with Vipa's above.

It did make me furious last night that 20/20 gave a horrible murder story

45 mins, while Sarah/ballet received only 5 mins of coverage.....

But thinking it over, that's typical of the junk that's on American TV.....

and 5 mins is making progress!!!

I thought Sarah did a magnificent job and managed to deflect the bias and

accusatory questions aimed at her, and she also instilled some doubt about

Portman's dancing. You'll notice they never showed a comparison of Portman

dancing and Sarah dancing....

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I thought it was strange that they never mentioned the company that Sarah dances with (ABT of course), but they repeatedly used footage of ABT classes and rehearsals.

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I thought it was strange that they never mentioned the company that Sarah dances with (ABT of course), but they repeatedly used footage of ABT classes and rehearsals.

I, too, thought that was odd. Maybe ABT preferred that the company name not be mentioned, though of course the studio and her fellow dancers would have been recognizable to the cognicenti.

While this story probably won't hold the public interest for long, there might well be repercussions involving future cinematic casting/crediting/contractural/promotional decisions - on the parts of dancers and production companies, alike; and that could have implications for other types of doubles, even (perhaps) retroactively. It's an interesting dilemma. I agree with Ms. Lane when she says that the promotional pitch for this particular film - touting Portman as a balletic wunderkind - is the main concern here, compounded by ongoing misrepresentation after the fact on the part of the motion picture studio and principals.

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I missed the program broadcast because of work, but online, the "tease" (ie. pre-show of the segment to get viewers to stay tuned until the commercials are over)does mention that Sarah dances for ABT, which 20/20 said was "one of the top ballet companies in the world". So that should make some people happy, even if the general public still has no idea what it's all about. (Personally, I just liked the view of ABT in class to see who was there. And those pdd excerpts: "Giselle" with I think Carreno, and in studio with her husband.)

I also agree that Ms. Lane, and Wendy Perron too, were very good at focusing the questions onto the need for respect and recognition of ballet, an art form requiring decades of training; NOT individual personalities/performers. (However, I'm sure the prurient press (20/20 included) and Hollywood hacks just wanted a good 'cat fight' to help sell the show or dvds.)

PS. I'm also glad someone viewed my trailer and called it "an antidote to Black Swan" that they wanted to show everyone. It made my day.

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I'm also glad someone viewed my trailer and called it "an antidote to Black Swan" that they wanted to show everyone. It made my day.

Should make much more than just 'one day', 4mrdncr. Congratulations. The word 'antidote' is one of the highest you can get, proves your work has power and said something important. My 3rd book is finally coming out in June, and I am hoping to be called an 'antidote' to something myself (although not 'The Black Swan', even though it is called 'Illegal Dances of New York City'. :angel_not: I know, shameless self-promotion, but it took 4 years to get to the final edit this week.) Good for us 'deep-goers'.

Bonnette said:

ongoing misrepresentation after the fact on the part of the motion picture studio and principals.

That's why this 'BlackSwanGate' had to be done. If the hype continued, it might as well be said to be on the same level as the supermarket stories about Brangelina, which are somehow never-ending, and by now, downright repulsive. A certain amount of Hollywood hype is to be expected, so I might disagree somewhat with GoCoyote and others, but only to a degree, about how 'Hollywood' means devious and ballet is grounded in something less so. I don't even think ballet is all that particalarly 'honest' (not that I think it's dishonest or devious), but just rather that, in this case, even if it wasn't a 'ballet movie' the way 'the Red Shoes' is, it's somewhat answerable to the matter of ballet as an art form, and it doesn't matter if 20/20 used it as crass TV tripe (to their perceptions.) I'm surprised it made it onto such an important prurient show at all.

GoCoyote said:

The deceptive approach leads to a more defensive attitude and behaviour (as demonstrated by the Portman camp) and the honest approach leads to a more protective attitude and behavour (as demonstrated by the Lane camp).

I'm sure I am over simplifying and I'm definitely biased in favour of 'ballet culture' (Hollywood culture leaves me cold) but there you go! I hope the world of ballet and the world of Hollywood (as it is today) continue to have little to do with each other as I can see only harm being brought to ballet and no good at all. But I know this is unlikely to stay the case - especially now that new technologies allow for Hollywood style illusions to be realized with increasing ease.

Yes, I'd say that in a general sense, you might be overstating it, and 'Hollywood culture leaving one cold' is all right, and sometimes I think it does me too. But then so does 'balet culture' sometimes leave me cold. At this point, I don't think the movies are worth the money, and I do think ballet is, so that says something, although not much.

Although definitely like Ms. Lane's project of the last few weeks. Good for her. She was right, and Ms. Portman is going to have to settle for being a fine actress, even though it seems as though what she wanted was not to be seen so much as an 'accomplished ballerina', but rather as a 'movie goddess' as existed in the old days, and has totally vanished. The only one who has that, as far as I can see, is DeNeuve, and she's French and old. There aren't going to be any more Garbos, Gardners, and Monroes.

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at least for me, fall more naturally on the story that was unfolding rather than on the question of whether that was anne bancroft or say someone like makarova doing the dancing - emma jacklin (her character) really wasn't shown dancing, just suggested. and of course, she was much older than natalie portman and as far as i know didn't really have any dancing background, so for me it was all the more impressive that in what they did show her doing, it really looked quite good.

Following this to go a bit off topic, I would say we don't know what they would have tried in 1977 with the technology they have today, and even the pros in The Turning Point received some help from film techniques. I liked Bancroft but because she couldn't be shown dancing or doing much of anything, much less than was asked of Portman, the film gave a misleading account of what a ballerina in late maturity can do - one could easily take away that all they're capable of is a walk around the stage in ankle length dresses waving their arms, that is until management brings out the hook. And The Turning Point is a ballet film in a way that Black Swan isn't.

I thought it was strange that they never mentioned the company that Sarah dances with (ABT of course), but they repeatedly used footage of ABT classes and rehearsals.

I noticed that, too. Also noticed that at the very end of the segment Elizabeth Vargas took the time to plug the DVD, and she also promoted Lane to "prima ballerina." Well, maybe someday. :)

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Oh, Helene, that's marvelous...my reaction is identical to yours! :yucky::rofl:

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I agree with Ms. Lane when she says that the promotional pitch for this particular film - touting Portman as a balletic wunderkind - is the main concern here, compounded by ongoing misrepresentation after the fact on the part of the motion picture studio and principals.

I'd say if there was one thing the 20/20 segment made clear, it's that this is mostly about the Oscar, one way or another.

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I'd say if there was one thing the 20/20 segment made clear, it's that this is mostly about the Oscar, one way or another.

Hi Dirac. In this particular case, that is probably the hinge - though dancers, the public and management (of both movie and dance companies) have been sensitized to the issues via Black Swan, and there could be repercussions as to how such issues are dealt with in the future. If the principals on the motion picture side had not made such a big deal about Portman's "training" and virtuosity in this film, the controversy would probably have simmered down by now; but - hoist on their own collective petard - they've opened the door to scrutiny and contractural challenges in the future, and that would seem (to me) to be the take-away from all that has happened.

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Hi Dirac. In this particular case, that is probably the hinge - though dancers, the public and management (of both movie and dance companies) have been sensitized to the issues via Black Swan, and there could be repercussions as to how such issues are dealt with in the future. If the principals on the motion picture side had not made such a big deal about Portman's "training" and virtuosity in this film, the controversy would probably have simmered down by now; but - hoist on their own collective petard - they've opened the door to scrutiny and contractural challenges in the future, and that would seem (to me) to be the take-away from all that has happened.

Agreed. I think that the people who decided upon the Oscar campaign for Portman were not trying to insult dancers or ballet. I can't imagine that they gave any thought to dancers or ballet as an art form.

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......... If the principals on the motion picture side had not made such a big deal about Portman's "training" and virtuosity in this film, the controversy would probably have simmered down by now; but - hoist on their own collective petard - they've opened the door to scrutiny and contractural challenges in the future, and that would seem (to me) to be the take-away from all that has happened.

RE 'contractual challenges'. Rather than bother dealing with 'troublesome' ballet dancers in the future, I can imagine the next 'ballet film' makers deciding to use an entirely CGI/ animated dancer with some current skinny and in-vogue Hollywood starlet's face superimposed on top. But perhaps in the end that would be the best way for Hollywood to go....?

Anyway my main reason for posting was to link this video which perfectly illustrates the deceitful tactics employed, especially regarding the now infamous FX reel.

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I'd say if there was one thing the 20/20 segment made clear, it's that this is mostly about the Oscar, one way or another.

Hi Dirac. In this particular case, that is probably the hinge....

Yes, indeed. :)

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RE 'contractual challenges'. Rather than bother dealing with 'troublesome' ballet dancers in the future, I can imagine the next 'ballet film' makers deciding to use an entirely CGI/ animated dancer with some current skinny and in-vogue Hollywood starlet's face superimposed on top. But perhaps in the end that would be the best way for Hollywood to go....?

That is an intriguing idea. It wouldn't surprise me, and as you say, in the end it might be more advantageous from a filmmaker's perspective to do it that way. I know next to nothing about CGI - would it have to be based on the physical performance of a real-life dancer? If so, even that might pose problems (though at least some of the more disingenuous elements that have marred Black Swan's promotion might be eliminated in that way). Thank you for providing the clip.

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For me ballerinas are graceful inside and out, and have the strength to go on for what they love despite possibly being unnoticed (like say, many incredibly talented dancers that languish in a corps). Does ballet deserve more recognition? Yes. Does Sarah Lane? Sure, but it still comes off like sour grapes which is unbecoming. If she had played her cards differently, who knows what other opportunities she would have had.

Also, I have many non-ballet loving friends who 'get' that Black Swan is a movie about a girl with mental problems that happens to dance ballet, rather than a realistic movie about ballet. They also understand a double was used for the most difficult sections... I just feel it's easy to underestimate the 'general public' but many people aren't that easily fooled. My .02 anyway...

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Also, I have many non-ballet loving friends who 'get' that Black Swan is a movie about a girl with mental problems that happens to dance ballet, rather than a realistic movie about ballet. They also understand a double was used for the most difficult sections... I just feel it's easy to underestimate the 'general public' but many people aren't that easily fooled. My .02 anyway...

Just to say that that varies. The ones I know didn't know about the double because they didn't even care. I'd say that I agree that 'many people aren't that easily fooled', but that it's not easy to underestimate the 'general public' on many things, as this one--although not fooling even the 'general public' on all things. Most weren't fooled by what was the real reason for making such a big deal about Clinton/Lewinsky, for example, and the political class just went on pontificating anyway. In fact, I was myself temporarily somewhat fooled before I found out that the general public wasn't! Such is the power of hype when used with great ambition and determination.

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Also, I have many non-ballet loving friends who 'get' that Black Swan is a movie about a girl with mental problems that happens to dance ballet, rather than a realistic movie about ballet. They also understand a double was used for the most difficult sections... I just feel it's easy to underestimate the 'general public' but many people aren't that easily fooled. My .02 anyway...

Just to say that that varies. The ones I know didn't know about the double because they didn't even care. I'd say that I agree that 'many people aren't that easily fooled', but that it's not easy to underestimate the 'general public' on many things, as this one--although not fooling even the 'general public' on all things. Most weren't fooled by what was the real reason for making such a big deal about Clinton/Lewinsky, for example, and the political class just went on pontificating anyway. In fact, I was myself temporarily somewhat fooled before I found out that the general public wasn't! Such is the power of hype when used with great ambition and determination.

I guess since I have danced ballet and love watching it, I take it for granted that no one would believe someone new to dance could do such things (and the things she did do, she lacked the real grace of a true professional dancer). I would hope they understood she trained hours a day for a year or whatever to be believable (barely, with the aid of effects and camera work) as a dancer for her character, and not that she ended up doing the hard technical parts herself. There will always be some people that believe it but I think (hope?) they are not the majority. I am honestly still baffled this all became a controversy, but I guess that is just me being willfully naive. :unsure:

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Hello, elena, and welcome to the board. Thank you for contributing to the discussion. I tend to think as you do on the matter.

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Hello, elena, and welcome to the board. Thank you for contributing to the discussion. I tend to think as you do on the matter.

Thank you for your welcome. :)

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