My (Double) Life as a Black Swan

Courtesy of Sarah Lane

Sarah Lane on the set of “Black Swan” covered with tracking marks that allow filmmakers to digitally capture her dancing and replace her image with that of actress Natalie Portman.

Sarah Lane, an acclaimed dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, served as Natalie Portman’s dance double in the movie “Black Swan.” Shortly before the movie was released on DVD this week, a controversy was kicked up about who actually performed the bulk of the ballet in the film, which tells the story of a dancer who loses her mind but finds her true artistic self. Director Darren Aronofsky claims that Portman, who won an Oscar for her role, performed 75% of the on-screen dancing in the movie, while Lane says Portman performed only about 5%. The Wall Street Journal asked Portman and Lane to write essays about their experiences on “Black Swan.” Portman, through a representative, declined. (You can read the director’s defense of Portman here.) Here’s Lane’s take on “Black Swan,” screen credit, and her love of ballet. Lane is currently in Moscow

I’m not trying to instigate conflict here.

There is enough conflict in the world as it is, and the whole point of ballet is to allow people to escape that for a few moments. For me and all of the incredibly inspirational dancers that I work with, this is our art. It’s what we love to do and it’s a huge part of who we are. We come in to the studio everyday because we have a vision of what we want to achieve and what we want to create. Perfection is unattainable and so we keep working on developing in each aspect of this multi-dimensional art form.

When I worked on “Black Swan,” I didn’t just do some steps, I tried to incorporate all of the still limited experience that I’ve suffered to attain. I knew that a lot of people in my field would see this movie and I felt very honored to represent it.

When we go on stage, we want to bring the audience with us to another world. Not a perfect world but a world where in brokenness there is beauty, in love you find freedom and through faith comes peace. We want people to feel something deeper.
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One thought on “My (Double) Life as a Black Swan”

  1. Other than complete stupidity, I cannot think of one good reason why Natalie Portman won’t just open her mouth, speak for herself and THANK this talented artist. If it were not for her, I highly doubt Natalie Portman would have an Oscar.

    Maybe just her acting was stellar enough to earn her that Oscar but I doubt it. How do you separate the DANCE from the character when you’re playing a DANCER? The acting and the dancing have to become one even if it’s a character created by two artists or you have two halves of a character and zero cohesion.

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