Vanity Fair, Please Stop It with These Weird "Ballet" Tutorials

Remember a few weeks back, when Vanity Fair put out a video featuring Petra Collins, who is very much not a professional dancer or dance teacher, teaching ballet? Well, this week, the mag has Elle Fanning, who is also very much not a professional dancer or dance teacher, demonstrating how to do a piqué turn on pointe. And we love us some Elle, but...this is not good:

Let @ElleFanning show you ballet basics—no tutu required.

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Look, we get it: The video is part of a series called "Secret Talent Theatre," featuring actors showing off their little-known skills—or "skills." (Emma Stone teaches us how to use a pogo stick; Elle's sis Dakota proves she can name all the American Presidents.) It's supposed to be goofy and fun.

But having a non-expert "teach" pointework? That's straight-up dangerous. Somebody's gonna break an ankle, guys.

Thankfully, Elle didn't—though she made us anxious for a second.

Vanity Fair, we beseech you: Please go back to your usual thoughtful, fascinating ballet coverage! Remember when you profiled Julie Kent? And Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck? How about that brilliant history of George Balanchine's Nutcracker? We need more of that amazingness! And if you're not sure if a dance story's legit, why not run it by legendary ballerina Heather Watts, who's been a contributing editor at your mag since 1995? Problem: solved.

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.

Margaret

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