Ballet-loving Russia roots for "Black Swan" Oscar


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Russia is rooting for "Black Swan" to win at the upcoming Oscars, as the Hollywood melodrama finds resonance with ballet's master of heritage.

Starring Natalie Portman as the black swan ballerina in "Swan Lake" -- a ballet composed by Pyotr Tchaikovsky in the 19th century and treasured by Russians -- the film premiered in the capital late on Friday to enormous applause.

"I would be so happy to see a movie about ballet win," said Anastasia Volochkova, one of Russia's most famous ballerinas, who has performed in "Swan Lake" several times.

"What have we got in Russia? The Russian soul, Russian ballet, Russian vodka... Out of those, ballet is the most worthy because it has beauty, grace, fulfillment," she told Reuters as she flicked back her long blonde hair.

Directed by Darren Aranofsky, "Black Swan" has already made $120 million worldwide and grabbed five Oscar nominations, including best picture and Portman for best actress. The awards ceremony will take place on February 27.

"The movie will be better received here and in Europe than in the United States because we relate to ballet and this music," 20th Century Fox distributor Yekaterina Romanenko told Reuters as five ballerinas dressed as the black swan twirled to Tchaikovsky's music behind her.

Later, a male-female duo from the Kremlin Ballet Theater performed a short piece on a small stage near the screen.

Russia prides itself as the epicenter of the ballet world, which is little wonder considering the list of Russian stars reads like a who's who of ballet over the last 100 years, with names such as Balanchine, Pavlova, Danilova, Nuriyev, Baryshnikov and many others.