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Pennsylvania Ballet Dancers Featured in Psychological Thriller Black Swan


Black SwanFourteen Pennsylvania Ballet dancers stepped from stage to screen to appear in the upcoming ballet-themed thriller Black Swan. Directed by Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream), the film stars Natalie Portman in a story about a veteran ballerina and her twisted relationship with a rival during the production of Swan Lake

Portman portrays Nina, an emotionally fragile New York City Ballet dancer whose art consumes her. When the Company’s artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) must replace his prima ballerina for the opening production of Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. However, competition comes in new dancer Lily, played by Mila Kunis, who impresses Leroy, too. 

Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play the part of the White Swan, an innocent and graceful role, and the Black Swan, who embodies duplicity and sensuality. Nina’s virginal character fits the bill of the White Swan, but Lily is the perfect personification of the Black Swan. Nina and Lily’s rivalry grows into a perverse relationship as Nina seeks out her dark side, which threatens to destroy her. 

Nina begins to see her face imposed on other women, indulges in self-mutilation, and grows paranoid that Lily is conspiring to take her part. As Nina’s fanatical dreams begin to invade waking life, Nina is dancing the Black Swan better and better. 

But as the dancers approach opening night, it becomes unclear whether Lily is truly a rival dancer, a supernatural apparition, or if Nina is simply having delusions. Filmgoers will ask themselves if Lily is Nina’s doppelganger, or if Nina has truly invented her polar opposite. 

Winona Ryder and Barbara Hershey also star in the film as the Company’s prima ballerina and Nina’s mother, respectively. 

Dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet traveled to the State University of New York — Purchase in January 2010 to film various dance studio and performance scenes for the movie. The Company’s dancers featured in Black Swan are: Laura Bowman, Adrianna de Svastich, Lillian Di Piazza, Megan Dickinson, Lauren Fadeley, Holly Lynn Fusco, Ian Hussey, Rachel Jambois, Abigail Mentzer, Ryoko Sadoshima, Kaia Annika Tack, Sergio Torrado, Barette Vance, and André Vytoptov. 

“Black Swan is a fantastic opportunity for our dancers to showcase their craft in an entirely different medium than they typically can,” said Roy Kaiser, artistic director of the Pennsylvania Ballet. “We’re thrilled to be part of this film.” 

Black Swan opens in theaters on December 3. To view the movie trailer, visit http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0947798/ or check out the video below. 



(Photo Right) Pennsylvania Ballet Company Member Holly Lynn Fusco on set of Black Swan. Courtesy: Holly Lynn Fusco.

Some of the 14 Pennsylvania Ballet dancers who filmed Black Swan take a break outside their East Falls rehearsal studios. Photo: Alexander Iziliaev.

Director Darren Aronofsky poses with some of the 14 Pennsylvania Ballet dancers who filmed Black Swan at its Philadelphia Film Festival Premiere. Courtesy: Philadelphia Film Festival.