Double Trouble: Portman's 'Black Swan' stand-in cries foul

Prima ballerina hired as a dance double for Natalie Portman says it was she, not the Oscar-winner, in most of the film's dance scenes.

April 18, 2011 13:59
1 minute read.
Sarah Lane, prima ballerina

Sarah Lane 311. (photo credit: courtesy)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Sarah Lane, the prima ballerina who danced many of Israeli-born Natalie Portman's scenes in Black Swan, has said that the reports of the actress's dancing ability have been greatly exaggerated.

Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky has asserted nearly 80 percent of the film's dance scenes feature Portman herself. In the run-up to this year's Academy Awards, much was made of the fact that Portman underwent extensive ballet training for a year and a half prior to filming, losing 20 pounds and committing extensive time and focus to transforming her figure and technique.

Natalie Portman wins Oscar for best actress
Livnat congratulates Natalie Portman on Oscar win

In an interview with ABC's 20/20, Lane stated that it was she, and not Portman, who appears in the majority of the film's dance scenes.

"Full body shots with actual dancing are me," she told ABC's Elizabeth Vargas. "That's why they hired me."

Lane, who is a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater, told Vargas that the only way Aronofsky could support his assertion of Portman's appearance in 80 percent of the dance scenes is if he counts close-up and face shots.

She said she was speaking out not to condemn Portman, who she believes deserved the Oscar for her acting ability alone, but rather to contest the idea that one can become a professional ballerina in a matter of months.

"[Statements such as Aronofsky's] threaten the entire principle of ballet, then I feel like I need to say something," she said.

While the number of scenes featuring Lane remains contested, Black Swan's production team has always said they used dance doubles in the film.  Sophisticated editing technology was applied in the post-production phase to superimpose Portman's face onto Lane's body.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Sarah Silverman
August 26, 2014
Jewish women take home gold at 2014 Emmys