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    Natalie Portman Versus Sarah Lane: A Ballerina Smackdown!

    Natalie Portman, Black Swan Fox Searchlight

    As we first told you yesterday, American Ballet Theatre soloist and Black Swan dancing double Sarah Lane has begun to not only speak out about her role in the award-winning film, but she has also suggested a facade presented by the producers to transform Natalie Portman into a prima ballerina. 

    Not surprisingly, Natalie's dancing partner (and now baby daddy fiancé) Benjamin Millepied took to her defense on the matter, claiming Nat did "85 percent" of the dancing.

    But Sarah, who has stood unnoticed on the sidelines during awards season (she was left out of Natalie's acceptance speech and is only named as an extra in the film's credits) has decided to take off her pointe shoes and bring out her claws by making it known that N.P. didn't quite transform herself as we were led to believe.   

    Turns out, this quiet "extra" doesn't seem so tight-lipped anymore...

    WATCH! Pregnant Natalie at the Oscars

    Lane's take? She thinks that "85 percent" figure is a load of crap, estimating that only "5 percent" of the full-body shots are Natalie. 

    As for the arm work, she gives Portman credit, and certainly doesn't suggest that Natalie is anything less than an "amazing actress," but Lane's respect for ballet has inspired her to speak up:

    "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?"

    Lane admits to being disappointed by her loss of recognition, but who can blame her for being a bit peeved? Not surprising she took personal offense to the world's blind belief that an ABT transformation is possible in only a year, when Sarah has worked her butt off in the shadows for 22.

    The question still remains: Why such a facade? Natalie won the Oscar for acting, and her personal performance was spectacular, dancing double aside. 

    Furthermore, it seems to be common knowledge when an actor enlists a singer as a voice double (à la Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady), but dancing doubles produce a much more believable imitation, an imitation that Fox Searchlight apparently felt compelled to omit.

    As for Portman's role in the scandal, yes, she may have forgotten to mention Sarah in her acceptance speech, but with pregnancy, a new fiancé and multiple movies underway, can you blame her?

    After all, Portman never tried to pretend that she danced in every scene, and she even admitted to using a dance double for the complicated turn sequences before award season was underway. 

    In fact, part of what made Natalie so spectacular is the huge departure for her in this role, much like Reese Witherspoon did in Walk The Line. But unlike Portman, Reese has publicly attributed her successful singing to the coaches. 

    Lane has made it clear: She is disappointed by her loss of credit for the role, and we agree, she should have been listed in the credits as Natalie's dancing double, but how then does she feel about Portman's technique?

    "I mean, from a professional dancer's standpoint, she doesn't look like a professional ballet dancer at all, and she can't dance in pointe shoes. And she can't move her body; she's very stiff," says Lane.

    Ouch.

    So who's right? Check out the special effects video that Dance Magazine posted, allegedly showing the facial replacement in some behind the scenes footage and decide for yourself. 

    (Originally published March 25, 2011, at 5:56 p.m. PT)

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