The Multiple Faces Of James Whiteside In Ballet, Drag, Pop

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Meet James Whiteside, principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, whose tall physique, chiseled good looks and elegant moves make him a classical leading man on stage.

But also say hello to JbDubs, the singer-songwriter whose music videos have gone viral with such dance-happy songs as “I Hate My Job,” “Wallflower” and “The Fanny Bounce.”

And here’s Uhu Betch, too, the sassy dragster and one of the members of a posse of downtown divas who call themselves the Dairy Queens. They are all the same person and show off Whiteside’s multifaceted creativity that can be bold, beautiful and chic.

In the serious and disciplined world of classical ballet, Whiteside, 32, stands out for the other gender-bending and playful aspects of his life that are separate from his main career and yet are still an integral part of who he is.

“All my personas are with me,” says the Fairfield-raised Whiteside during a recent interview at New York’s Lincoln Center, where he has just finished performing in the world premiere of “Her Notes,” by choreographer Jessica Lang. “It all depends on which one I chose to let out of the closet more than the others.”


At the D’Valda & Sirico Dance and Music Centre in Fairfield, he fell in love with the jazz and tap classes because he could dance to pop hits by Michael and Janet Jackson and Britney Spears. He found ballet “boring and forced. ... But at this point of my life I’ve come to recognize how much I love its discipline.”

An out gay teenager, he was the object of “mean kids” at school, he says, “But I was very resilient and had wonderful friends and dancing made me confident and happy.”