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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.

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