A Comprehensive Guide to All the Best JbDubs Videos
Our August cover star James Whiteside isn't just a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre (as if that isn't accomplishment enough!). He's also a pop star named JbDubs, who makes clever, danceable music and sheds his princely onstage persona for a flamboyant, raunchy one. Needless to say, his music videos feature some incredible dancing—from hip hop to jazz to ballet—and some hilarious characters.
We rounded up the best of them—you can thank us later.
For Ballet Dancers Getting Down & Dirty
An homage to Britney Spears and to Whiteside's unapologetic "take me or leave me" attitude, "NYC Piece of Me" is classic JbDubs at his finest. Featuring American Ballet Theatre dancers Cassandra Trenary, Calvin Royal III and Courtney Lavine and English National Ballet dancer Jeffrey Cirio, the video shows that ballet dancers can get way outside their comfort zones, and look good doing it.
For "Single Ladies"-esque Heels Work
"I Hate My Job" is the JbDubs oldie but goodie we keep coming back to. Filmed back when Whiteside was dancing at Boston Ballet, the video features a "Single Ladies"–inspired heels trio including then-colleagues Bradley Schlagheck and Lawrence Rines. As always, the lyrics are as inventive as the video, with lines like: "So I'm a regulation hottie you a Star Wars yeti / If I am Wilhelmina then you are Ugly Betty."
For Six Times the JbDubs
"Pantywaister" stars JbDubs alongside...JbDubs. Whiteside dances with six of his alter-egos in this video (see if you recognize any of them from the ballet stage!) about reclaiming the derogatory names he's been called.
For Drag Queens and Foulmouthed Lyrics
In case you forgot that Whiteside has yet another personality as drag queen Ühu Betch, "Dirty Mouth" features the other members of his drag family The Dairy Queens, Milk and Skim Burley. We're not sure who those ladies in pig masks are, though we have some guesses based on their 180-degree extensions.
For Gorgeous Choreo in A Horror Movie Set
"The Vault" features a steamy, bloody duet for a rather scary JbDubs and an unassuming Garen Scribner. But the dancing is anything but horrifying—in fact, the intimate choreography is some of the most striking of JbDubs' videos.
For Ridiculous Outfits (And A Little Ballet!)
Dubbed "a super pretentious fashion and movement film," "The Fanny Bounce" is basically one big ridiculous fashion show, featuring designs from Reid & Harriet as well as more farcical pieces like a Bart Simpson crop top.
Yvonne Rainer's Parts of Some Sextets (AKA "the mattress dance") hasn't been revived since it premiered in 1965. Nor has Rainer had any wish to do it again, to ask performers to heave 10 mattresses around while carrying out 31 tasks that changed every 30 seconds. It was an unwieldy, difficult dance. (Even the title is unwieldy.) But Emily Coates, who has danced in Rainer's work for 20 years, became curious about this piece and was determined to see it again—and to dance in it. She will get her wish November 15–17, when the mattress dance will be performed as part of the Performa 19 Biennial.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.