Black Swan follows the story of Nina (Portman), a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth McIntyre (Winona Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition, a new dancer Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side - a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.
On a trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia, in 2000, Anne Bass came across sixteen-year-old Sokvannara (Sy) Sar performing in a temple with a traditional Cambodian dance group. His amazing natural charm and grace as a dancer moved her immensely; even after returning to America the memory of Sy's performance and remarkable abilities lingered.
A longtime patron of dance in the U.S., Bass decided to offer this young man the opportunity to leave his home and follow a dream that he could not yet have fully imagined. She asked the World Monuments Fund, who helped sponsor Sy's dance troupe, to contact his teacher and parents to find out if Sy would like to visit New York where Anne could introduce Sy to the world of ballet and see if he had an interest in auditioning for the prestigious School of American Ballet (SAB).
Sy arrived in New York at sixteen without any classical ballet training and was initially turned down at SAB, and so after studying privately with legendary ballet teacher, Olga Kostritzky, the head of the boys program at SAB, Sy auditioned and was accepted to study at SAB. When Sy arrived at SAB most of his peers had already been training for at least six years. Sy studied at SAB for five years and when he finished his training there Peter Boal, a principal dancer with New York City Ballet and one of Sy's instructors at SAB, became the artistic director of Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) and invited Sy to join the PNB School's Professional Division, where he eventually became an apprentice and joined the corps de ballet. Shortly after joining PNB Sy also entered and reached the semi finals of the International Ballet Competition at Varna, Bulgaria, the world's oldest and most prestigious ballet competition.
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