Stephanie Clemens
Artistic director, MOMENTA dance troupe

I’m not sure I am a fair critic, as I absolutely don’t want to see Black Swan. I simply don’t do psychological thrillers — nor do I like to see ballet so dramatically associated with things I work so hard to disassociate it from, namely nasty competition, anorexia, bulimia, cutting, and sleeping your way to the top.

I have read a lot of the reviews of the movie, and based on those, I wrote something for MOMENTA’s newsletter to parents and dancers, suggesting that the movie’s R rating should be taken seriously and that lots of good ballet dancing was not the main focus of the movie. Parents should read reviews and make an educated decision before they let young teens see the movie — and, if they do let them, the parents should see it too, and be prepared to discuss the issues.

Some of my staff have seen Black Swan and the reviews range from “trash” to “funny” to “scary.” Two of my young adult dancers did like the movie, but most really did not and felt:

1) it was for the most part not about dance and

2) it showed very little good professional dance.

Obviously I am in a minority. The Golden Globes and the Oscars certainly think otherwise, but I am too old to willingly seek out such angst, and I think the movie is basically bad for business. I would think parents would yank their kids out of ballet if they felt it was like that here at the Academy!

Stephanie Clemens, an Oak Park resident, is the founder and artistic director of the Academy of Movement and Music, the MOMENTA professional dance troupe, and the Doris Humphrey Foundation. www.academyofmovementandmusic.com, www.momenta-dance.org, and www.dorishumphrey.org.

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