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James Whiteside in Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes.
Photo: Gene Schiavone.




Copyright 2013 Ballet Theatre Foundation, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Photo: Rosalie O'Connor.
Meet James Whiteside

ABT welcomes its newest Soloist, Connecticut native James Whiteside! James joined the corps de ballet of Boston Ballet in 2003, where he rose through the ranks to principal dancer. Since joining ABT in September, audiences have seen James as Basilio in Don Quixote and the Nutcracker Prince in The Nutcracker, as well as in Drink to Me only With Thine Eyes and In the Upper Room. This spring, he will add to his repertoire with the Company, performing Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake and Ali in Le Corsaire. Read on to learn more about James!

What is your favorite ballet and why?

My favorite ballet to watch is Giselle. There is so much dancing and so much wonderful acting. It moves me more than any other classical ballet. Make sure to bring tissues to the theatre!

James in rehearsal with Isabella Boylston.
Photo: Gene Schiavone.

What is your favorite role or ballet that you have danced?

My favorite neoclassical role that I've danced... is a tie! It's between George Balanchine's Symphony in C and Rubies. They're both so musical, energetic, and fun! My favorite classical role is Albrecht in Giselle. Acting, partnering, and about a thousand entrechat six!

What is your dream role that you hope to dance one day?

I'd absolutely love to be Prince Gremin in Onegin. That pas de deux is one of the most breathtaking things I've ever seen. Onegin was the first full length classical ballet I ever saw (other than The Nutcracker). Anyway, I think I'd look pretty good with a little bit of gray hair!

What are you most looking forward to in ABT's upcoming season?

I'm looking forward to seeing some really incredible dancing. I learn through experience and watching beautiful things happen. I hope to add some of the wonderful things I see on stage to my own dancing. And of course I hope to be very busy onstage!


James as Basilio in Don Quixote.
Photo: Renata Pavam.
Describe your first experience on stage with ABT.

My first performance with ABT was at Bard College. I was dancing Twyla Tharp's In The Upper Room. What a workout! I had performed the the piece with Boston Ballet but I had a different part and it was over five years ago, so I had some serious catching up to do. I did my homework and my first performance with ABT was a joy and a dream come true... even if we were sweating to death in a foggy "upper room"!

What is your favorite dance memory?

I danced Romeo in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet for the first time last year with Boston Ballet. The curtain was coming down on Kathleen Breen Combes and I at the end of the ballet, and I could hear her softly weeping as we laid there trying to remain perfectly still to preserve the illusion of our deaths. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever experienced and we fought to remain our composure through bows and curtain calls.

What would you be if you weren't a dancer?

A rocket scientist! Just kidding. If I had no inclination toward dancing, which sounds like a terrible death to me, I would probably go to school for digital music production. Music is the reason I dance and if I can't dance, I'll make music so others can dance.

James with Paloma Herrera in The Nutcracker.
Photo: Gene Schiavone.
Describe your morning routine.

I wake up at about 8 AM and hit the "snooze" button a few thousand times. Upon getting out of bed, there's a symphony of joints cracking and tendons rolling as I make my way to the coffeepot. My morning consists of the usual nonsense; shower, coffee, breakfast while I read a book, and picking out an outfit that I'll only end up wearing for about fifteen minutes before I'm prancing around in tights. I walk to the studios because I live close enough to do so. I arrive quite early to the studios before class. I like listening to music while I'm stretching and preparing for the day. It's probably the most consistent part of my morning routine.

What would most people be surprised to learn about you?

I'm a nerd. There, I said it. I adore science fiction, video games and anime. Some of my favorite books are old sci-fi classics and I have a weakness for the 60s sci-fi soap opera "Dark Shadows". Phew, I'm glad to have that off my chest!

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