If you’ re like us and enjoyed the delirium of your Thanksgiving food coma in a movie theater, you almost certainly saw a trailer for Darren Aronofsky’s ballet thriller, Black Swan, which opens this Friday. It looks highly creepy (what is that barbed thing Natalie Portman pulls out of her shoulder?) and totally engrossing. But Aronofsky’s not the first director to mine the ballet world’s psychological depths. To achieve prima status, dancers must endure years of rigorous training, personal scrutiny, and ruthless competition. This creates lots of shades of crazy, many of which have been documented on film. After the jump,we provide a field guide to cinema’s various (and fascinating) ballet bitches.
The Stubborn Bitch (Center Stage, 2000)
Before Zoe Saldana frolicked through the lush landscape of Pandora, she pissed off every teacher at the fictional American Ballet Academy in Center Stage. In a cheesy teen movie filled with kiddie-pool-deep characters, Saldana does a respectable job as the brassy rebel, Eva Rodriguez. Eva shows up to class late — gum snapping, hair unslicked (quelle horreur!). And during a memorable outburst (at ~8:45), Eva yells at a teacher who’ s been harping on her classmate. “Jesus! She heard you! She heard you. We all heard you! You don’t have to speak to her like that. Anyone can see she’s working her ass off!” You tell her, Eva.