The former Strictly judge says the psychological drama reflects the real world of ballet

Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips says watching the film Black Swan was so intense, it made her feel queasy.

The new movie, in which Oscar-tipped Natalie Portman portrays ballerina Nina Sayers – a young dancer who battles anorexia and self-harm – had Arlene in tears.

‘It had me jumping from my chair, feeling sick with emotion and, finally, sobbing my eyes out,’ says Arlene, 67.

‘It’s so intense it makes you feel like you’ve been stabbed in the stomach.’

The renowned choreographer, who trained as a ballerina, says she can empathise with fictional character Nina, whose toenails fall off and feet become gnarled and blistered.

‘When I look at my feet now they are completely distorted from years of being squashed into pointe shoes,’ Arlene tells the Daily Mail.

‘It shows the hard work that goes into the beauty of ballet. The perfection seen is the result of a lot of punishment.’

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