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date: 26 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter analyzes Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010) as a Jewish horror film with fake lesbian monsters. The Swan Lake remake offers a site of racial and sexual containment for Jewish actresses in ballet roles. Against damaging pressures of professional dance on the female psyche, the film recasts White and Black Swan roles as monstrous representations of the Ethnic Other, the Woman, and the Sexual Deviant. Analysis of select plot and performance components challenge fatal disfigurements of the film’s female characters: In what ways does Black Swan use ballet to appropriate social and political identities with tenuous relationships to the mainstream? How might these appropriations amount to an ultimate domestication of the very identities the film puts forward for thrilling appeal? This linkage of dance and politics intersects critical race theory, queer theory, and horror film theory as revealing dimensions of classical dance in narrative cinema.

Keywords: Jewish, horror, critical race theory, ballet, sex, narrative cinema

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