A Different Kind of "Nutcracker" Prince: James Whiteside on Taking on Ratmansky's Version

James Whiteside was a Nutcracker Cavalier many, many times during his 10 years at Boston Ballet. But now that he's a soloist at American Ballet Theatre, he's tackling the very different Prince role in Alexei Ratmansky's Nutcracker. Pointe's e-news spoke with Whiteside about learning Ratmansky's take on the part.

How is Ratmansky's Prince different from the traditional Cavalier?
In this version, the Prince is a child envisioning himself as an adult, whereas the Cavalier in Boston is immediately a prince. So I had to adjust my general idea of the role, and bring more freshness and innocence to it. It's been great to hear Alexei talk about the character--he has a whole backstory.

Have you had fun getting in touch with your inner child?
Oh, definitely! There's this moment in the coda where we do a bunch of happy little balancés from side to side, and in my mind I'm just thinking, Charlie Brown! I'm totally doing the Charlie Brown dance. Don't tell Alexei.

What strategies do you have for surviving Nutcracker?
It's been nice to learn something new this year, and rejuvenate my Christmas spirit a bit. Otherwise, it's just a lot of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You." And I'm doing my holiday shopping online, so I don't have to walk around too much.

You're also perform pop music, as JBDubs. Do you have any performances coming up?
Actually, my new music video comes out today! I'm having a video release party. It'll be the first time my new ABT friends see JBDubs in action.

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