Cupcakes & Conversation with James Whiteside, Principal, Boston Ballet

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Cupcakes & Conversation with James Whiteside, Principal, Boston Ballet

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James Whiteside

What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?

Coffee and a competitive edge.

Who would you most like to dance with & what would you dance ?

In Boston Ballet, I love dancing with Lia Cirio and Misa Kuranaga but I would love to do Balanchine’s Ballo Della Regina with Merrill Ashley (back in the day).

If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance?

Underwater. Esther Williams style. YouTube her. She’s magical.

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What is your daily routine at the moment ?

I wake up to the most obnoxious tone on my iPhone (the sci-fi one). Coffee and eggs, warm up to my latest downloads (music is my life-force… along with chilli-cheese fries), class, rehearsal, dinner with friends and bedtime. I love to watch the 1960s sci-fi soap opera “Dark Shadows”. It begs me to turn it into a ballet. Some day.

How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?

I love to take a shower before getting ready for a show. It’s relaxing and it gets me warm. Then, I listen to music while I put on my stage makeup. I love to make playlists on my iPod for each program we do (my latest mix was for La Bayadere and I named it “Solor Eclipse”. I warm up, do a barre, and go over steps and choreography while listening to music that really pumps me up to perform. 

What are you looking forward to dancing in 2010 ?

I’d love to dance Oberon and Divertissement Pas de Deux in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Forsythe’s The Second Detail. (I hope Mikko reads this. 😉

You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?

Vera-Ellen (film and dance star), Harvey Milk (activist), Genndy Tartakovsky (animation genius), Timbaland (pioneering music producer), Nureyev (duh), and Stephen Hawking (physicist).

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What would surprise people about you ?

I am a science nerd and I make pop/dance music.

Who inspired you to dance ?

A photo in the phone book. It was an advertisement for the dance school. It was an awesome photo of a press lift and it inspired me to go to take a trial jazz class.

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James & Misa


How would someone else describe you ?

Fun, ambitious, and weird. Misa says I’m crazy but I’m good with paperwork.

What is your best piece of advice ?

Use your brain and think for yourself. Charles Kelley (my acrobatics and tap teacher) once told me “I don’t teach dummies” and it was a truly revelatory moment… even though I was 10.

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Which role has tested you the most & how ?

Albrecht in Giselle. It was my first classical principal role other than the Nutcracker Prince. It is a full character in terms of acting and technique. 

What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you ?

I was a dancer in the Disney film The Game Plan with The Rock. It’s hilarious for all the wrong reasons. 

If you designed your own stage costume, what would you create ?

I would love to create a costume made completely of lights. It would be amazing if the only light on stage came from my costume. The movement would appear to trail behind my body. When I’m a millionaire, I’ll commission a luminositard. See, I’ve already named it.

A phrase I use far too often is …

I tend to make up my own words so a lot of the things I say frequently aren’t even English. I could write a list, but nobody would understand (except my closest friends). A Whiteside Dictionary is in the works. Don’t worry.

Who would play you in the film of your life ?

Meryl Streep.

What is your favourite quote?

“See the music. Hear the dance.” – George Balanchine

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What’s on your iPod ?

Lady Gaga, JbDubs, and every other artist that isn’t country or heavy metal. 

What makes you a good dance partner ?

I care about more than just myself.

Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about ?

I make amazing chilli.

Describe yourself in just three words.

Outta my way.

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In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be this time next year ?

Exactly where I want to be. 

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4 Responses to Cupcakes & Conversation with James Whiteside, Principal, Boston Ballet

  1. Cafe Fashionista December 5, 2010 at 3:39 pm #

    Haha! What a fun interview – I love the idea of a Whiteside Dictionary. I’m guilty of making up my own words at random times, as well!! 😛

  2. Couture Carrie December 6, 2010 at 12:04 am #

    Fabulous interview, darling!


  3. cloudia December 6, 2010 at 3:21 am #

    Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral