ABT's Sarah Lane, summoning all the spirit of tiny Dan Gable's winning freestyle form in the Olympics almost 40 years ago ("Once you've wrestled, everything else in life is easy"), pinned Natalie Portman and her entourage to the mat for the full count during a fantastic segment about the Black Swan controversy on ABC's 20/20 this evening. And oh my, didn't the story take a swerve when the Entertainment Weekly editor said that he knew Academy voters who would NOT have voted for Natalie Portman to win the Oscar if they had known she didn't do the dancing which she and her team still pretend she did. Let's just say feathers are going to fly, wrestling fans. This could be like Rob Besserer wrestling swans in Martha Clarke's choreographic interpretation of something-or-other twenty years ago in a performance at John Jay College. Rob was still spittin' feathers through his whistler weeks later.
The way that ABT is orchestrating Sarah's protest – the ABC interview in its studios, the quick updating of Sarah's bio to include that she was the dancing double for Natalie Portman, the article in the Wall Street Journal, the new ultra glamorous headshot on the ABT website (see below), the promo of the 20/20 segment on Twitter – they need to let Sarah dance to the Black Swan tune or they should drop the baton and get off the podium. Sarah and Herman Cornejo should get a Swan Lake this June. They deserve it. We deserve it. It would create a lot more interest and be a better performance than importing a guest artist from a second tier company who offers absolutely nothing that cannot be found within the rank and file ABT company members.
AT LEAST let Sarah and Herman perform the Black Swan PdD at the Opening Night Gala Performance. Better yet, cut Millepied's Troika during the rep week and substitute Sarah and Herman in the Black Swan PdD. Why does Millepied get away with such disrespect of ABT's women and then get the company's celebrity treatment during the rep week? Huh?
The 20/20 segment was a fab job by Sarah - and the dancing shots were great. By the way, didn't she look tall on TV! Long, long lines. Swan lines.
Update: Haglund forgot to mention that in the 20/20 segment, about a minute in, there are a few seconds of Sarah as Giselle in Act II. It appears that this could have been her performance with Lake Cities Ballet in Texas a couple of years ago. Haglund's post on that performance, and the superb photos by LCB Assistant Director Nancy Loch, continue to this day to be among the most downloaded content on Haglund's blog. This performance and this artist are commanding an ever increasing international interest. What's it going to take for us to finally have the opportunity to see her Giselle in New York?