Monday, January 23, 2012

Black Swan

Last night we watched the much heralded Black Swan. I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did, given that most hyped-up movies tend to be disappointing in reality.
Director Darren Aronofsky by contrast has produced a real masterpiece in Black Swan, the story of a ballet dancer performing the role of her lifetime as both the white and the black swan in a New York ballet company.

Natalie Portman as the Black Swan

Natalie Portman as the white swan

Normally, I find Natalie Portman's pained facial expression tiresome. Not in Black Swan however. Her performance was haunting and beautiful, leaving me feeling somewhat shaken inside. Ballet dancers are such admirable people. Their dedication, painful and backbreaking hard work for even the smallest parts make this a difficult life to choose. Black Swan very effectively shows what toll this sort of strict lifestyle and perfectionist mentality can take on a dancer.
As a child, I was fortunate to be taught ballet and though I quit when my sister no longer wanted to attend classes, deep down I have always wished I had stuck with it. Ballet seems so magical to me. I have probably seen 20-odd Nutcracker performances, yet each time I feel moved to tears. Crippled feet and distorted body image aside, ballet dancers have an almost inhuman control of their movements and their body. While my flexibility exercises are limited to putting on my socks, ballet dancers are able to kick up one leg to a standing split while on pointed toe (also known as arabesque penchee, bien sur). Incredible!
Gravity defying arabesque
For now, I will just stick to putting on socks, though. Bloody nails aren't really a good look for soon-to-come-out-of-hybernation-please-sandals.


  1. I liked Black Swan and enjoyed it even more when I watched it a second time--it really allows you to analyze once you've seen it once before!

  2. Might have to re-watch it, then! Definitely a movie I wouldn't mind adding to my permanent collection.


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