Good ballet films are few and far between. So the ballet world is eagerly anticipating the release of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan on 21 January 2011.
In the film Natalie Portman plays a ballerina rehearsing the role of Odile/ Odette in Swan Lake. Sounds boring? On the contrary – it is actually a ballet horror movie that is sure to horrify anyone with a love for ballet.
Anyone interested in dance will be asking themselves at this point how on earth actress Natalie Portman can play a world class ballerina? Why use an actress and a body double when there are hundreds of real ballet dancers out there who can act and do so every day on stage? Just take Mikhail Baryshnikov in Sex and the City as an example.
Portman has been training hard apparently but this is just a further insult to the ballet industry. The art of ballet cannot be learnt in a few years, let a alone a few months. Portman’s upper body is used in the film, but to the trained eye it will be painfully clear that she isn’t a trained dancer. In the short trailer alone, I winced at the sight of a very ungainly hand.
The film apparently further insults the ballet world by focussing on all the old clichés that are associated with ballet. From overly pushy mums to bulimia, the film covers it all and according to The New York Observer’s dance critic, Robert Gottlieb it does nothing to help improve the “old ugly misconceptions of ballet.” Read his scathing review here!
The Guardian asked some of Britain’s top dancers what they thought of the film and they didn’t hold back with their answers.
The official Black Swan trailer