Photo by Andrew Werner

Never Not Fabulous: Peek Inside James Whiteside's Offstage Life

James Whiteside sometimes seems larger than life. He knows how to effortlessly command any room he's in, whether he's playing a noble prince onstage or appearing in fashion campaigns for designers like Marc Jacobs and Thom Browne. During a rare day off, Whiteside gave us a glimpse into a quieter side of his personality—which is perhaps most endearing of all.


His Style

James Whiteside shows off his developpe front from his couch in his apartment

Whiteside in his Manhattan apartment

Andrew Werner

The piece of clothing he collects the most: "T-shirts. When they start to wear out as my real clothes, I transition them into dancewear, so it's fun to cycle through. I found this vintage Reba McEntire shirt from a 1988 tour at an amazing shop in the East Village."

Fashion philosophy: "I want to be comfortable. I like traditional, American clothing—T-shirts, jeans, leather jackets, cowboy boots, Chucks. I like to keep it simple with a James Dean sort of vibe."

Perks of stardom: "My shoes, I actually snagged off the set for the Valentine's Day Macy's shoot that I did with my boyfriend, Dan."

Frugal finds: "The couch is something a friend was getting rid of, the trunk was $1 at a flea market and everything on the walls, people have given me."

How He Fuels the Fierceness

Daily indulgence: "I eat dessert like every night. I'll get a pint of ice cream, or there's a 16 Handles around the corner from my apartment. My order is usually the peanut butter ice cream, and then I put in peanut butter cups, plus Reese's Pieces and Cap'n Crunch cereal."

Pre-show ritual: "Isabella Boylston and I always have lunch at Fiorello's. We get pasta with a side of pizza and really carbo-load."

Post-show ritual: "I go back to Fiorello's and have a Manhattan and maybe some chicken parmigiana."

Coffee order: "Just a small, black coffee."

What His Downtime Looks Like

James Whiteside on his toes in his apartment lobby

Andrew Werner

What he's reading: "Jane Eyre, because ABT is staging it this spring. I read every day. I recently loved The Dispossessed and Oathbringer."

Ideal day off: "My favorite thing to do is wake up slow, have coffee, go to my bagel shop, read, play video games. Maybe I'll meet up with some friends for lunch or see a movie. I usually work on my days off though, and I'll schedule a photo shoot or meetings. I can't do this forever, and I really want to solidify my place in the dance legacy. I want to get better all the time, and I like to make things and choreograph. I think in the future perhaps, you'll see more of that side of me."

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Since 1954, Dance Magazine has celebrated the living legends among us with the Dance Magazine Awards. This year, in light of deep reflections on racial equity inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the selection committee decided to take a close look at exactly who the magazine has honored over the past seven decades. Unsurprisingly, the list is overwhelmingly white. Although it's grown more diverse in recent years, many brilliant artists of color have been left out for far too long.

So for 2020, in order to reckon with and take a step toward repairing that history, the committee chose an outstanding group of all-Black artists. I'm delighted to announce our incredible honorees for 2020:

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