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'Black Swan' Director Darren Aronofsky Defends Natalie Portman's Dancing

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Darren Aronofsky has put his foot down in the "Black Swan" ballet dancing controversy.

The film's director released an extensive statement on Monday, hitting back at Sarah Lane, star Natalie Portman's dance double who claimed that she had done 95% of the actual dancing in the film.

Aronofsky's statement reads:

"Here is the reality. I had my editor count shots. There are 139 dance shots in the film. 111 are Natalie Portman untouched. 28 are her dance double Sarah Lane. If you do the math that's 80% Natalie Portman. What about duration? The shots that feature the double are wide shots and rarely play for longer than one second. There are two complicated longer dance sequences that we used face replacement. Even so, if we were judging by time over 90% would be Natalie Portman.

And to be clear Natalie did dance on pointe in pointe shoes. If you look at the final shot of the opening prologue, which lasts 85 seconds, and was danced completely by Natalie, she exits the scene on pointe. That is completely her without any digital magic. I am responding to this to put this to rest and to defend my actor. Natalie sweated long and hard to deliver a great physical and emotional performance. And I don't want anyone to think that's not her they are watching. It is."

Lane's accusations hit hard at the public perception that Portman, who trained for over a year for the role, did most of the complicated dancing seen on screen.

"They wanted to create this idea in people's minds that Natalie was some kind of prodigy or so gifted in dance and really worked so hard to make herself a ballerina in a year and a half for the movie, basically because of the Oscar," Lane told Entertainment Weekly. "It is demeaning to the profession and not just to me. I've been doing this for 22 years... Can you become a concert pianist in a year and a half, even if you're a movie star?"

Portman won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as paranoid, self-destructing ballet dancer Nina Sayers; Aronofsky was nominated for Best Director.

Over the weekend, producing studio Fox Searchlight released a statement defending Portman, as well. Benjamin Millepied, the film's choreographer, and now Portman's fiance, expounded on Portman's transformation and dancing ability in an interview with the Los Angeles Times last week.

"It was so believable, it was fantastic, that beautiful movement quality," he told the paper. "There are articles now talking about her dance double that are making it sound like [Sarah Lane, her body double] did a lot of the work, but really, she just did the footwork, and the fouettés, and one diagonal [phrase] in the studio. Honestly, 85% of that movie is Natalie."

For more on Aronofsky's statement and the controversy, click over to Entertainment Weekly.

Around the Web

Fox Searchlight - Black Swan - Official Site

YouTube - BLACK SWAN - Official HD trailer

Black Swan Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes

Black Swan - Movie Trailers - iTunes

What Is 'Black Swan' About? (Spoilers) - The Moviefone Blog