James Whiteside Is Collaborating With Disney Japan and It's Just as Magical as You'd Expect

If you love James Whiteside as much as we do, allow us to further fuel your obsession. The ABT principal announced via Instagram that his latest project will be playing the Beast (post-transformation, obv) and choreographing an upcoming extra with Disney Japan's Beauty and the Beast DVD release. While we're still awaiting all of the details, we reached out to Whiteside, who confirmed that he and Boston Ballet principal Misa Kuranaga—who will be dancing Belle—will be recreating the film's ballroom scene.

"I choreographed the pas de deux to a specially arranged piano version of the central theme song, "Tale as Old as Time," and stuck with a very classical ballet structure," Whiteside told us via email. "[I incorporated] moments from the original Disney film, as well as feelings I get while watching classic Disney films. My ballet influences were the very Russian Spring Waters, [Frederick] Ashton's Cinderella and much of Alexei Ratmansky's work."

Courtesy of James Whiteside


If you can't wait to see what the starry pair comes up with (because, same), Kuranaga also shared a little behind-the-scenes look at the pas de deux. Despite the super short slow-mo clip, we can already tell Kuranaga is going to be the most perfect Belle. She even has a spot-on version of Belle's gown with a dreamy gold romantic tutu that she credits Japanese tutu maker Nui with designing.

She and Whiteside both wrote that their dancing will appear as an extra "ballet lesson" on the Disney Japan DVD of Beauty and the Beast, but we wouldn't mind if they staged an entire ballet, TBH.

Latest Posts


CalArts dance students. Photo by Josh S. Rose, Courtesy CalArts

4 Reasons Interdisciplinary Education Can Make You a Stronger Dancer, According to CalArts

After years spent training in their childhood studio, it can be hard for dancers to realize exactly how many pathways there are toward career success. The School of Dance at CalArts aims to show its students all of them.

Built with the intention to break barriers and bend the rules, CalArts' interdisciplinary curriculum ensures that students take classes that cover an entire spectrum of artistic approaches. The result? A dance program that gives you much more than just dance.

Last week, Dance Magazine caught up with Kevin Whitmire, assistant director of admission for CalArts School of Dance, and recent alum Kevin Zambrano for the inside scoop on how an interdisciplinary curriculum can make you a stronger artist. Watch the full event below, and read on for the highlights.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
July 2021