Barre Boys – Boston Ballet Principal, James Whiteside, talks Ballet, JBDubs and all that Jazz…

1. You did not start off in ballet. At what point did you start ballet and why?

I started jazz first and my teachers said “if you want to keep your
scholarship, you have to take ballet.” So, I did. Gradually, my interest in ballet grew and it lead me to inquire about ballet boarding schools.

2. Did you know that you wanted to come to Boston? How long have you been here? How long ago did you get promoted?

No, Boston was a surprise. I went to the Summer Dance Program and Mikko Nissinen offered me a BBII position with a little encouragement from my former teacher Raymond Lukens who would be directing BBII the upcoming season. This is my ninth season with Boston Ballet and I was promoted to Principal in 2008.

3. What’s your favorite role or ballet?

Albrecht in Giselle is my favorite role so far. It’s cliche but nothing else
has come close to making me feel as much as Giselle did.

4. What is your dream role?

I don’t know enough about dance to know what my dream role is. I only know that it was a dream after I’ve danced it.

5. Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Yes. I take a shower, blast music (usually a playlist I create specifically
for that program), apply makeup, take a ginseng shot (sometimes before but usually in between acts), and do a barre.

6. I understand you are an award winning jazz dancer, tell me about that.

My first dance school (D’valda & Sirico Dance Centre) had an amazing youth dance company and competition group. We travelled internatinonally to perform in festivals and competitions. I feel I’ve gained an edge from all those years of hardcore jazz training and competition and I’m eternally grateful for the experience those teachers gave me.

7. What music gets you pumped up to dance.

I love high energy pop and dance music before a show. Top 40 style music gets me really jazzed up.

8. Speaking of music… Who exactly is JBDubs? People in Boston say he is Bish!

JbDubs is my ferocious pop star alter-ego. I make all the
music/beats/melodies/lyrics and choreography/costumes for the live shows. My friends and co-performers have a lot of input too. I’m working on my latest music video with Scalped Productions ( ) for my song “So I Cry” which is currently available on iTunes (

9. What are your career goals at this point?

I want to have enough experience and influence to be able to work on
multiple creative projects. Ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap, modern, music, and art. I want to be able to dabble in many art forms. I refuse to limit myself.

For more images from our shoot, please visit:

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