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.

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Rachel Papo

Our 8 Best Pointe Shoe Hacks

It turns out that TikTok is good for more than just viral dance challenges. Case in point: We recently stumbled across this genius pointe shoe hack for dancers with narrow heels.

Dancers are full of all kinds of crafty tricks to make their pointe shoes work for them. But don't fear: You don't need to spend hours scrolling TikTok to find the best pro tips. We rounded up a few of our favorites published in Dance Magazine over the years.

If your vamp isn't long enough, sew an elastic on top of your metatarsals.

Last year, Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Elizabeth Murphy admitted to us that her toes used to flop all the way out of her shoes when she rose up onto pointe(!). "I have really long toes and stock shoes never had a vamp long enough," she says.

Her fix? Sewing a piece of elastic (close to the drawstring but without going through it) at the top of the vamp for more support...and also special-ordering higher vamps.

Solve corns with toe socks

Nashville Ballet's Sarah Cordia told us in 2017 that toe socks are her secret weapon: "I get soft corns in between my toes because I have sweaty feet. Wearing toe socks helps keep that area dry. I found a half-toe sock called 'five-toe heelless half-boat socks' that I now wear in my pointe shoes."

(For other padding game-changers, check out these six ideas.)

Save time by recycling ribbons and elastics.

Don't waste time measuring new ribbons and elastics for every pair. Washington Ballet dancer Ashley Murphy-Wilson told us that she keeps and cycles through about 10 sets of ribbons and crisscross elastics. "It makes sewing new pairs easier because the ribbons and elastic are already at the correct length," she says. Bonus: This also makes your pointe shoe habit more environmentally friendly.

Close-up of hands sewing a pointe shoe.

Murphy-Wilson sewing her shoes

xmbphotography, by Mena Brunette, courtesy The Washington Ballet

Tie your drawstring on demi-pointe.

In 2007, New York City Ballet's Megan Fairchild gave us this tip for making sure her drawstring stays tight: "I always tie it in demi-pointe because that is when there's the biggest gap and where there's the most bagginess on the side."

Find a stronger thread.

When it comes to keeping your ribbons on, function trumps form—audiences won't be able to see your stitches from the stage. Many dancers use floss as a stronger, more secure alternative to thread. Fairchild told us she uses thick crochet thread. "Before I go onstage I sew a couple of stitches in the knot of the ribbon to tack the ends," she says. "I do a big 'X.' I have to make sure it's perfect because I'm in it for the show. It's always the very last thing I do."

Don't simply reorder your shoes on autopilot.

Even as adults, our feet keep growing and spreading as we age. Atlanta podiatrist Frank Sinkoe suggests going to a professional pointe shoe fitter at least once a year to make sure you're in the right shoe.

You might even need different sizes at different times of the year, says New York City Ballet podiatric consultant Thomas Novella. During busy periods and in warm weather, your feet might be bigger than during slow periods in the winter. Have different pairs ready for what your feet need now.

Fit *both* feet.

Don't forget that your feet might even be two different sizes. "If you're getting toenail bruises, blood blisters or other signs of compression, but only on one foot, have someone check each foot's size," Novella says. The solution? Buy two pairs at a time—one for the right foot and one for the left.

Wash off the sweat.

Blisters thrive in a sweaty pointe shoe. Whenever you can, take your feet out of your shoes between rehearsals and give them a quick rinse off in the sink. "If feet sweat, they should be washed periodically during the day with soap and water and dried well, especially between the toes," says Sinkoe.