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Photo: Emil Cohen
Born in Fairfield, Connecticut, James Whiteside began his training at age nine at the D’Valda & Sirico Dance and Music Centre, where guest faculty included Charles Kelley, Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens. He continued his training at the Virginia School of the Arts for one year under the direction of Petrus Bosman and David Keener. In 2002, Whiteside joined Boston Ballet II, where he continued to train under the tutelage of its director Raymond Lukens, now director of ABT’s National Training Curriculum. Whiteside joined the corps de ballet of Boston Ballet in 2003 and became a second soloist in 2006. He was promoted to first soloist in 2008 and to principal dancer with Boston Ballet in 2009.
Whiteside’s repertoire with Boston Ballet included principal roles in George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Coppélia, Ballo della Regina, Rubies, The Four Temperaments (Sanguinic), Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Who Cares?, Serenade, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Symphony in 3, and La Valse; Maina Gielgud’s Giselle; Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker and Swan Lake; John Cranko’s Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet; Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty and Raymonda Act III; Antony Tudor’s Dark Elegies; Jiři Kylián’s Bella Figura, Sarabande, Petite Mort, and Sechs Tänze; Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room; and Mark Morris’ Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes. He created roles in Jorma Elo’s Brake the Eyes, Plan to B, Carmen, Slice to Sharper, and In On Blue; Helen Pickett’s Eventide and Etesian; and Mark Morris’ Up & Down.
Whiteside joined American Ballet Theatre as a Soloist in September 2012 and was named a Principal Dancer in October 2013. His repertoire with the Company includes Solor in La Bayadère, the Prince in Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, Conrad and Ali in Le Corsaire, Daphnis and Bryaxis in Daphnis and Chloe, Basilio and Espada in Don Quixote, Oberon in The Dream, the third sailor in Fancy Free, Colas in La Fille mal gardée, Albrecht in Giselle, Astrologer in The Golden Cockerel, Lescaut in Manon, the Nutcracker Prince in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker, Prince Gremin in Onegin, the Man from the House Opposite in Pillar of Fire, Iago in Othello, Champion Roper in Rodeo, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Prince Désiré in The Sleeping Beauty, Prince Siegfried and von Rothbart (Ballroom) in Swan Lake, Orion in Sylvia, Caliban in The Tempest, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Prince Coffee in Whipped Cream, leading roles in Bach Partita, The Brahms-Haydn Variations, Duo Concertant, Chamber Symphony, Her Notes, Let Me Sing Forevermore, Raymonda Divertissements, Symphonic Variations, Symphony in C, Theme and Variations, Valse Fantaisie and ZigZag, and featured roles in Gong, Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, In the Upper Room, and Sinfonietta.
He created The Man in AfterEffect, Harlequin in Ratmansky’s Harlequinade, Dionysius in Of Love and Rage, Zephyr in The Seasons, leading roles in AFTERITE, Garden Blue, Serenade after Plato’s Symposium, A Time There Was, and With a Chance of Rain, and a featured role in Dream within a Dream (deferred).
Whiteside has choreographed for music videos, commercials, film and ballet, including New American Romance and City Of Women for American Ballet Theatre, Sway for Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night’s Swing and On the Water, Zero Hour, and Bells & Whistles for Boston Ballet. In 2018, he starred in Arthur Pita’s dance/theater work The Tenant at The Joyce Theater in New York City. Whiteside hosts his own podcast, “The Stage Rightside with James Whiteside.” In 2021, his memoir, Center Center, was published by Penguin Random House.