Dance doubles…

Back in 1983, a little film hit the big screen. You may have heard of it: Flashdance. The reviews weren’t great but many critics, including Roger Ebert,  singled out the young Jennifer Beals as an actress with promise and talent. Some reviews even praised Beals’ dancing abilities.

But then someone leaked a little information: Beals had a dance double do most of the dancing. Marine Jahan was the Beals dance double and she didn’t receive credit during the opening or closing credits. If you look at some of the dance work on video (see below), you can certainly tell that it wasn’t Beals. Jahan got a little upset.

They say history repeats itself and now the entertainment media (including a prominent ‘News + Notes’ items in the April 8 issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands today) is focusing in on Academy Award winning actress’s dance double in The Black Swan. The dance double for Portman is American Ballet Theatre soloist Sarah Lane.

In the credits of the movie, Lane was listed as a “hand model” and “stunt double.” In Portman’s acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, she thanked a lot of people, including “people on films that no one ever talks about.”

Portman forgot Lane. Whoops.

Does this lack of honesty (or “forgetfulness,” perhaps) mean that Portman didn’t deserve her Oscar? Does the lack of credit in Flashdance mean that Beals isn’t “a natural talent” or “fresh and engaging?” Not necessarily.

It does mean one thing: as an actor always remember to thank the people who helped you accomplish what you have achieved — be it winning an Academy Award or being in a financially successful (but really bad) ’80s movie.

What do you think?