Archive for category dancing

Natalie Portman Loses 20 Pounds For Movie Role

thin Natalie Portman as ballerina in Black Swan

Here is another actor who can lose weight at will. How do these people do it so easily, when normal humans struggle unsuccessfully most of the time just to lose 10 pounds?

The 5-foot-3-inch starlet worked out between five and eight hours a day to shed 20 pounds from her already tiny frame so she could play a prima ballerina. “At a certain point, I looked at [Natalie’s] back, and she was so skinny and so cut … I was like, ‘Natalie, start eating,’” says Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky. “I made sure she had a bunch of food in her trailer.”

2010 Natalie in movie

2007 Natalie

“It was really extreme,” Portman said of her physical commitment to the role. “And I definitely felt both physical and mental aftershocks from the experience, because it was the first thing I’ve ever done that was this physically demanding on top of an emotionally demanding part,” she said.

Portman also said that, although she and Aronofsky first discussed the project nearly a decade ago, she needed more age and experience to tap into certain aspects of her character.

“For me, it’s really about someone going from a position, an artistry where you’re trying to please other people, to a position where you’re finding pleasure yourself,” she said. “And Vincent [Cassel]‘s character, though it seems that he’s sort of puppeteering this character, he is really guiding her towards becoming an artist and is really teaching her how to find her own pleasure and make a true expression of herself, that it’s about her.”

The 29-year-old went on to say that she related to her character finally realizing that it’s not her job to make others happy. “It’s about breaking out of a system where you’re easily replaceable by the next girl who looks like you…But the older you get, the less you care about what other people think and the more you just want to be your true self and express your true self.”

After posting this story, I just read another that only has to do with the movie, nothing to do with Natalie.

This is more sad than ridiculous. Call it sadly ridiculous.

The Guardian of London reports that a man in Latvia was shot and killed in a Riga movie theater after a dispute over popcorn during a screening of Black Swan. The victim, a 43-year old man, accused the assailant of chewing his popcorn too loudly, the papers report, something the accused did not take kindly.

The alleged shooter, a 27-year old police academy graduate who holds a law degree and has the legal right to carry a pistol, waited until the lights came back on to fire the gun. Possibly a questionable decision. Fellow moviegoers called the police, who cuffed the accused.

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Ping Pong Victory Celebration

ping pong loser beware

Here is an amusing reaction to winning at ping pong. I do love watching the intensity of the game—whether ping pong, tennis, football—how serious everyone is and determined to do their best. And then someone wins and completely transforms into a totally different personality. Was that other self always inside just waiting to pop out? Where would it have gone if it had lost the match? And what about the player(s) who lost? They have to be as dignified as possible, given that they are allowed to show sadness and dejection. I watched Roger Federer cry like a baby when he lost a Grand Slam. What did you think of that?

Anyway here is a victor holding nothing back, whether it’s his victory dance or sticking the virtual sharp end of his paddle deep into the the loser’s heart. Thank goodness the defeated player didn’t deck him…

But after another viewing and focusing on the scoreboard, I came to a different conclusion about who won the game. See if you can figure it out right away.

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Break Dancers Battle Beautifully And One Is Only Eight Years Old

If you’ve never seen this sport, this clip shows it like it is. Glorious athleticism, rhythm, flexibility, originality. The little guy, Angelo Baligad is nicknamed ‘Lil Demon,’ and you can decide if he bested Joshua Lee ‘Milky’ Ayers.

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The Dangers Of Oldsters Acting Like Youngsters Or…Oldsters

After reading yesterday’s article about older people dancing, a 62-year-old who just fractured his foot walking in France to feed his chickens sent me the following video that laughs cruelly at old people acting like kids…and getting into trouble. It’s an update on the slip-on-a-banana peel cartoon of decades past:

I admit that I smiled and laughed at some of these spills. I mean the people seem so dumb to be trying some of the things they are doing. But maybe that is one of the sadnesses of getting older—a complete lack of awareness of what your body and sense of balance can no longer manage. Or maybe they just need new glasses and don’t want to spend the money?

Anyway, it all motivates me to stay in shape and to keep moving, whether it’s dancing, tennis, lifting weights or much riskier, more daring sports…

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Dance Your Life Away To Be Healthier, Happier And Around Longer

This 4-minute film of a grayhair dancing was on a college humor site promising funny videos. I love his moves, I love Gaga’s music. Doesn’t he seem to be enjoying what he is doing? Of course he can outdance the college kids trying vainly to keep up with him.

What I hate is the message that it’s ridiculous and laughable to see a man with gray hair dancing with zest or at all. Dancing is such a high. It is revitalizing. So is the music, when it has some pep and life to it. My father danced so much that I had the adjective “dancing” inscribed on his headstone. It kept him smiling, alive, upbeat and happy his whole life. He didn’t stop even after his leg was hit by a car in his 70’s. He was doing the cha cha, foxtrot, mambo, and other steps late into his 80’s.

There has always been this idea that when you are over 40, you are supposed to “put away childish things,” be dignified and not act like a youngster. I remember dating those dames who bought that bullshit—they were like the walking wounded, more dead than alive. Boh-ring. Yet at the same time, our society reveres youth and convinces oldsters to dress and look like they are younger than their years. So you have millions over 50 wearing denim like they are teenagers; paying for face lifts, botox, tummy tucks and uplifts; and dyeing hair or plugging scalps to look like they did decades ago. Totally contradictory.

“Act your age.” How many times have I heard that reprimand? Or maybe it was, “You know Ira, he doesn’t act his age.” Who wants to? Movement and aerobics are what keep you young and healthy, along with a good diet. I’ve been dancing since I was in elementary school, then meeting tourist girls, so we could cha cha cha in the dance rooms of Miami Beach hotels, where I worked in high school. I took jazz dancing in my 30’s with professionals near Carnegie Hall (who of course danced rings and hoops around me, when I couldn’t remember all of the instructor’s steps). Now I strut my stuff at weddings and other parties plus a few Zumba classes.

You can really work up a sweat on the dance floor. It can be far more than a little pitty pat that has you looking cool as you do the two bland steps that blend you into the crowd. To hell with that. Express yourself. Be creative. Cultivate some originality. Don’t even think about being shy when you dance.

I remember one high school reunion when an Elvis impersonator (shades and white jump suit with reflective buttons) was belting out the old songs. I came down to the hotel’s night club a bit after my classmates and was just inside the door. There were Larry and Diane, two of the best dancers in our class of ’58, dancing as energetically and almost as gracefully as they had 35 years ago. They could still impress me with their style and sweeps. Maybe they had gained a few pounds, maybe lost some hair or used hair color. I don’t recall. But they could move.

Next to me were younger non-reunion hotel guests—maybe in their 20’s— watching these two “old people” (in their 50’s) twist and rock on the floor. But these “kids” were also laughing at what they saw more objectively: two grandfolks dancing like they were teenagers. They thought it was ridiculous. They couldn’t stop giggling at the spectacle. I was hurt and upset. Maybe I should have decked them, or at least shut them up. They saw oldsters acting “inappropriately.” I saw revived life. As Michaelangelo cut the stone away to reveal the David hidden within, the music—in my opinion— had cut loose the inner child from the stiff and aging bodies on the dance floor.

Well it’s your choice. I have friends in their 50’s up here in Connecticut who take tango lessons and then go to Argentina with their dancemates. Sounds like fun to me. I have friends who go to Roseland or other places where you can dance more formally with strangers. It sounds fantastic. Are you ready? What are you waiting for? You know you don’t live forever…

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