From left: Douane Gosa, Gianni Goffredo, James Whiteside, Maxfield Haynes and Matthew Poppe in WTF. Yo Poosh, Courtesy Kimberly Giannelli PR.

Real Life Music Video: James Whiteside and Co. Performed at Madonna's Birthday Party Last Weekend

We've always known that Madonna loves dance. After all, the "Queen of Pop" studied at the Martha Graham School in the 1970s. Nevertheless, we were still surprised (and thrilled) to see that she invited James Whiteside to perform at her 61st birthday party in The Hamptons last weekend.


The American Ballet Theatre principal performed the choreography (on pointe!) from the music video for his newest pop hit, WTF, which he released under the moniker, JbDubs in April. Whiteside was joined by four backup dancers: Matthew Poppe, Douane Gosa, Maxfield Haynes and Gianni Goffredo. Catch a clip of the performance below.

Madonna's party took place in the midst of rehearsals for her upcoming Madame X tour. According to Vulture, Madonna was give the name Madame X by Graham herself, after showing up to class each day with a different identity. And of course, we love Madonna's choice of JbDubs song. Of Whiteside's musical oeuvre, WTF most explicitly targets a ballet audience, with lyrics referring to George Balanchine, the Rose Adagio, former New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay, Sergei Polunin and much more. Whether or not Madonna's guests understood all of Whiteside's references doesn't seem to matter; we guess they were more than taken with the quintet's precision, attitude and impressive pointe work.

This appearance leaves us wondering if Madonna will give Whiteside and Co. bigger platforms on which to perform. After all, Whiteside is already besties with actress Jennifer Garner, and he toured with pop star Rozzi earlier this year. In the meantime, we're looking forward to seeing Whiteside back onstage at ABT this fall.

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Jason Samuels Smith, photographed by Jayme Thornton

Moving Forward by Looking Back: A Week at the L.A. Tap Festival Online

I turned to tap at the outset of the European lockdown as a meaningful escape from the anxiety of the pandemic. As a dance historian specialized in dance film, I've seen my fair share of tap on screen, but my own training remains elementary. While sheltering in place, my old hardwood floors beckoned. I wanted to dig deeper in order to better understand tap's origins and how the art form has evolved today. Not so easy to accomplish in France, especially from home.

Enter the L.A. Tap Fest's first online edition.

Alongside 100 other viewers peering out from our respective Zoom windows, I watch a performer tap out rhythms on a board in their living room. Advanced audio settings allow us to hear their feet. In the chat box, valuable resources are being shared and it's common to see questions like, "Can you post the link to that vaudeville book you mentioned?" Greetings and words of gratitude are also exchanged as participants trickle in and out from various times zones across the US and around the world.

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