James Whiteside


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OUT100: Dancer James Whiteside

I'm so unbelievably honored to be named one out OUT Magazine's 100 most notable members of the LGBT community in 2014. 

james whiteside out 100

OUT100: James Whiteside


Dancer and Entertainer
Photography by JUCO | Retouching by Anna Glen at Wet Noodle

The Moment: June 16, 1961: Ballet star Rudolf Nureyev defects to the United States from Russia.

In addition to his work as a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, James Whiteside belts out tunes as his pop star alter-ego, JbDUBS, and he recently released his first EP, titled Hey JB! His other project: performing with his boyfriend Milk (a.k.a. Dan Donigan; a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, season 6), under their drag group name the Dairy Queens (he’s Yoohoo). His influences? Whiteside remembers locking himself in his room with a girlfriend at age 15 to watch Showtime’s Queer as Folk. “I wasn’t out to my parents yet, and it was my first glimpse into the unabashedly fabulous world of the LGBT community,” he says. “Plus, their clothes were hilarious! I saw Emmett Honeycutt wearing pleather pants and crop tops — so I bought pleather pants and crop tops.”

Photographed in Central Park, New York on September 21, 2014

Groomer: Heather Schnell


View original article here.

The Gramilano Questionnaire

When Graham Spicer contacted me to do his "Dancer Questionnaire", I thought "Sure!". Little did I know how in-depth some of my answers would have to be! It's a fabulous questionnaire. Enjoy!


When did you start dan­cing?
I star­ted dan­cing when I was 9 years old.

Why did you start dan­cing?
I star­ted dan­cing because I was driv­ing my mom crazy. She wanted to get me out of the house and into an after-school activ­ity. I had an appalling amount of energy and I abso­lutely hated every “nor­mal” sport. My mom chucked the phone­book at me one day and said, “Pick some­thing!” I thumbed through the yel­low pages and found an ad for a local dance stu­dio. At the time, I didn’t real­ize it was for a dance stu­dio. I just saw the incred­ible photo, of a man lift­ing a woman over his head with one hand! Next thing I knew, I was enrolled in jazz, tap, and acro­bat­ics. Bal­let came a wee bit later.

Which dan­cer inspired you most as a child?
Ini­tially, it was my teach­ers and some of the older stu­dents. Janet Jack­son had a huge impact on me as a teen­ager. I loved her music (still do!), her energy, and style. Other influ­ences were Brit­ney Spears and *NSYNC. I will­ingly knew noth­ing about Nureyev or Bary­sh­nikov, but those super­stars of the late 90’s TRL age had me shak­ing my rumplestilt­skin* in my metal­lic flares and Sketch­ers. Rough stuff, I know.

Which dan­cer do you most admire?
I admire loads of dan­cers! I’d be a fool to just pick one to steal secrets of the trade from. To name a few: Vera-Ellen, of the MGM days; Mar­celo Gomes, of ABT fame; Janet (Miss Jack­son if you’re nasty); Rudolf Nureyev (love that queen!)… and many more!

What’s your favour­ite role?
All of them! Lies. Prince Albrecht in Gis­elle is one of my favour­ites. Walk­ing around with a cape and flowers is some­thing I like to do on an almost daily basis. Oh, the glamour.

What role have you never played but would like to?
Dr Frank N Fur­ter, of The Rocky Hor­ror Show.

What’s your favour­ite bal­let to watch?
My favour­ite bal­let to watch is George Balanchine’s Ser­en­ade.

Who is your favour­ite cho­reo­grapher?
George Bal­anchine. Also referred to as Him.

Who is your favour­ite writer?
Jules Verne: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mys­ter­i­ous Island, Jour­ney to the Cen­ter of the Earth, Around the World in Eighty Days, and many more!

Who is your favour­ite dir­ector?
Hayao Miyazaki. My favour­ite film of his is Howl’s Mov­ing Castle. Close seconds are Prin­cess Mononoke, Naus­icaa of the Val­ley of the Wind, The Cat Returns, Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice, Porco Rosso, Spir­ited Away… so, pretty much all of his films.

Who is your favour­ite actor?
Miss Piggy.

Who is your favour­ite singer?
My favour­ite male vocal­ist is Seal and my favour­ite female vocal­ist is Toni Brax­ton. Prince and Stevie Nicks are also favourites.

What is your favour­ite book?
The Bible! Just kid­ding. I adore sci-fi/fantasy. Patrick Roth­fuss’ Kingkiller Chron­icle is incred­ible. It’s such a poignant mix of ima­gin­a­tion and lit­er­at­ure! The first two books are titled The Name of the Wind, and A Wise Man’s Fear.

Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside in ABT’s Swan Lake photo Andrea Mohin 495x500 James Whiteside answers the Gramilano Questionnaire… Dancers’ Edition
Gil­lian Murphy and James Whiteside in ABT’s Swan Lake — photo Andrea Mohin
What is your favour­ite film?
As far as impact on my life, I’d have to say Tina Fey’s MeanGirls. When I was a teen­ager, it taught me how to be mean while at least know­ing I’m being mean.

Which is your favour­ite city?
I have three. New York City (duh), Tokyo, and Paris. The trifecta.

What do you like most about your­self?
My ima­gin­a­tion! It’s crazy in there!

What do you dis­like about your­self?
My inab­il­ity to cope with large din­ner parties. Table for eight? No thank you.

What was your proudest moment?
When I was pro­moted to Prin­cipal Dan­cer at Amer­ican Bal­let Theatre.

When and where were you hap­pi­est?
I was naïve and com­pla­cent in my early twen­ties. I had incred­ible friends, fam­ily, really. We drank and smoked a lot, and work was sec­ond­ary to the time and exper­i­ences we shared. They’re all still my best friends. As the rap­per Drake once rapped, “No new friends”, just old friends.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
I have so many great loves. Music is the earth I stand on. I’d abso­lutely wither away without it! Dance, lit­er­at­ure, food, cof­fee, video games, films, and let’s not for­get Dan Donigan and my cat, Ms Bit!

What is your greatest fear?
I’ve never lost any­one truly close to me. I’m ter­ri­fied of how it will affect me. How­ever, I don’t fear my own death.

If you could change one thing about your­self, what would it be?
I would change my inab­il­ity to cope with large din­ner parties. Le winke smiley wink James Whiteside answers the Gramilano Questionnaire… Dancers’ Edition.

What do you con­sider your greatest achieve­ment?
Some­how, I became a bal­let dan­cer! I had no interest in becom­ing a bal­let dan­cer until my mid to late teens. I never thought I’d be a Prin­cipal Dan­cer in a major bal­let com­pany, let alone ABT!

What is your most treas­ured pos­ses­sion?
Can I say my cat? My cat.

What is your greatest extra­vag­ance?
My Man­hat­tan apart­ment is eas­ily the most expens­ive thing I own.

What do you con­sider the most over­rated vir­tue?
Patience. Some­times, you just gotta tell some­body what’s what.

On what occa­sion do you lie?
Some­times, I tell people it’s good to see them when it’s not.

If you hadn’t been a dan­cer what would you have liked to be?
I would have swindled my way into the arts come hell or high water. I’d be a musi­cian, or an actor, or a car­toon­ist… you name it!

What is your most marked char­ac­ter­istic?
I like to make up words. People who know me can vouch for that. If you know me long enough, you’ll be flu­ent in my made up language.

What qual­ity do you most value in a friend?
Humour. If you don’t make me laugh, begone!

What qual­ity do you most value in a col­league?
Kind­ness and respect. I have no time for evil divas.

Which his­tor­ical fig­ure do you most admire?
The sci­entific geni­uses of the past: Ein­stein, Coper­ni­cus, Galileo, Curie, Planck, Tesla, etc. Talk about chan­ging the world! It all star­ted with curi­os­ity and a little imagination.

Which liv­ing per­son do you most admire?
To stick with the sci­ent­ist theme, I choose Stephen Hawk­ing. If you haven’t read any of his books, do it! Reader, that’s your homework.

What do you most dis­like?
Oh you know, use­less killing and the like, but on a more per­son­ally rel­ev­ant scale, gigantic strollers. It drives me insane when people traipse down the side­walk with a baby stroller the size of Texas. Often, the chil­dren are entirely too old to be wheeled around. Get out and walk!

What tal­ent would you most like to have?
I wish I was the best singer in the universe.

What’s your idea of per­fect hap­pi­ness?
Per­fect hap­pi­ness is con­tent­ment with one’s life. Enjoy­ing the people you love, achiev­ing one’s goals, and laugh­ing often are just a few things that are import­ant to me.

How would you like to die?
Quickly and not so old that I’m a pile of goo on poly­es­ter sheets.

What is your motto?
I’m still work­ing on one. I always cop out and use this quote from Rocky Hor­ror Pic­ture Show: “Don’t dream it. Be it.” Good, right? Mine’s not so good. It goes some­thing like, “Use logic and don’t be an asshole.” I guess I still have some work to do.

Read the article in it's original context here.