John Epperson aka Lypsinka, talks about BLACK SWAN

John Epperson, known as the fabulous  performer Lypsinka , played the “Jaded Piano Player” in Black Swan.

John writes a post for the Daily Beast this week and says, “We all have our own Black Swan, that creature inside each of us who is waiting to spring its blazing essence on the unsuspecting world. Mine is, indeed, The Fabulous Lypsinka. My White Swan self was—and to some degree still is—a shy, frightened, sensitive sissy boy from the small town of Hazlehurst, Mississippi.

I was not so shy or frightened, however, that I couldn’t work up the courage to apply for a job as rehearsal pianist at American Ballet Theatre soon after I arrived in New York City in 1978. Two years later, I was a member of the company and in the studio with Gelsey Kirkland, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Anthony Dowell, Natalia Makarova, Alicia Alonso, Rudolph Nureyev, Carla Fracci, Margot Fonteyn, Cynthia Gregory, and Sir Kenneth McMillan. In her 1986 memoir,
Dancing on My Grave, Gelsey did not refer to me as the Jaded Piano Player, only “the pianist” who witnessed the heart-wrenching real-life scenes in which she struggled with Baryshnikov, and—perhaps most of all—her own inner Black Swan.

Lypsinka lives the life that glamorous movie legends are supposed to live. But a bit player—even one as important as the rehearsal pianist in a film based on the balletic world—must get up at 5 a.m. in the deepest of winter and take an unglamorous subway ride to the set!

“Most of the scenes I filmed in Black Swan were shot in a very cold studio that couldn’t be warmed because the low hum of the heater was picked up too much by the boom mikes. It was so cold—and Natalie Portman, the movie’s star, was dressed in such flimsy dance clothes—one might wonder how the behind-the-scenes events that have played themselves out in the gossip mills could have come true in such a steamy fashion.”

Read more from John  at Daily Beast !    and

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