Thursday, February 10, 2011

Black Swan

A few weekends ago, my mister and I went on a date night with another couple to see the movie, Black Swan. It is a psychological thriller about a ballerina in the NYC Ballet Company {played by Natalie Portman} who slowly looses her mind as she strives for perfection in her performance of both Odette {the Swan Queen} and Odile {Odette's naughty twin, the Black Swan} in Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.
There had been some hype around the movie, most of which concerned how much weight Natalie Portman had lost to portray a prima ballerina. As the move began, I sat, ready to be shocked...but I wasn't. Having been to the ballet twice this last year, I could only commend Portman on both her appearance {as far as what professional dancers really do look like} and her dancing performance {which with over a year of intense training under her belt, she did most of herself!} While I am not usually a fan of scary movies, this was more of a true psychological thriller & tragedy, which left the audience simultaneously captivated + haunted.

I don't think there is a woman alive who leaves the ballet, {or this movie}, without secretly coveting the strong, thin, streamline dancer's body. It is really a level of fitness that few people could actually {or do} ever achieve. The following week, my lady friend {whom I had seen this flick with} brought over the January VOGUE + we poured over the interview with Natalie Portman. The pictures were amazing and interview was quite good; telling us about how Portman was a dancer before moving more seriously into acting, that she is a vegetarian/ vegan {love her!} + that she has some great producing projects in the works along with being an expecting first time mama.

As I thought of the movie + looked at the beautiful photos, one line of the interview stood out for me above others. The author writes of Portman, "With posture as straight as is she had never hunched to text...blah, blah, blah". And then it hit me, it is not only a ballerina's extreme thinness + strength that is so enchanting, but also how she carries herself. Having grown up dancing ballet myself, I know that the art of ballet lies in being able to make something that is SO incredibly difficult seem as if it were the easiest thing in the world. By the time I stopped dancing at 17, I felt that my body had changed in such a way that I did not have much a future in dance past the point I was at {...boobs and all}. Ironically, 13 years + 3 children later, I feel I am in alteast as good of shape {if not better} than I was when I stopped dancing, however, all of my flexibility and conditioning is gone. And this quote from the interview in Vogue got me thinking... Having loved dancing ballet from the time I was a very small girl, I thought about how I could incorporate some of that graceful discipline into the life I live today. I decided that I must do something with my new found inspiration! While I might never loose another pound {god help me, Natalie's character in Black Swan SO needed a Sammich!}, I think I would like to regain some of that ballet flexibility + conditioning. I have ordered a Ballet workout DVD to do at home and will see how I make out with that...and then who knows, perhaps even join up with an adult class at a studio at some point? Inspiration makes itself known in the most random of places...and I believe age and maturity offers us the wisdom which motivates us to once again enjoy things and activites that we may have written off. I feel so very excited about this new challege. I wonder, what source of random inspiration has motivated you to take on a new challenge recently?



  1. I love the idea of making challenges for ourselves as we gain wisdom (ahem, aka age) and the confidence that grows with it, I hope to still be inspired and delighted when I'm 101, because that's what life is really about! I have terrible posture, lol, so reading your post is making me sit a little taller tonight :)

    I have been reading a great book lately and newly starting to practice meditation. I think this quiet space I'm creating (at least trying to) has become a new source of inspiration.

  2. I didn't start taking ballet lessons til I was an adult. I haven't been able to be a part of regular classes the past few years and I dearly miss it.

  3. I've loved ballet and ballet dancers' incredibly lithe bodies my whole life as well. I never got good at it, but it didn't stop me from taking a class as an adult. It's such fantastic mental and physical exercise and discipline. I'd love to know if you like the ballet workout DVD you purchased. I hope you'll get to take a class! I took intro to Irish step dancing last semester, taught by a mom of three grown daughters, and she and I and the other mom in the class had a blast and laughed a lot as we pranced and panted for oxygen!

    I really enjoy your blog!


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