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.

Latest Posts


Pacific Northwest Ballet's Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan, photographed by Jayme Thornton for Pointe

The Radiant Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan: Why She's One to Watch at Pacific Northwest Ballet

Hollywood could make a movie about Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan's big break at Pacific Northwest Ballet.

It was November 2017, and the company was performing Crystal Pite's film-noir–inspired Plot Point, set to music by Bernard Hermann from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Ryan, then a first-year corps member, originally was understudying the role of another dancer. But when principal Noelani Pantastico was injured in a car accident, Ryan was tapped to take over her role.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Maria Alexandrova, Maria Allash and Yevgeny Ivanchenko in "Swan Lake"

While not nearly as common as the pas de deux, the pas de trois is a frequent feature in classical ballets that poses its own unique challenges. The seamless braiding of three dancers, in which all can equally shine, is no easy feat. In this clip from 2002, the Bolshoi Ballet stars Maria Alexandrova and Maria Allash and Mariinsky Ballet principal Yevgeny Ivanchenko, achieve that synergy in this sumptuous pas de trois from Act I of Swan Lake.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Yonah Acosta in Sin La Habana, Courtesy Miami Film Festival

The Miami Film Festival Is Streaming 2 Films Spotlighting Cuban Ballet Dancers, Including Yonah Acosta

Many ballet companies are sharing digital productions these days, but if you want to get your ballet fix on the silver screen, the Miami Film Festival has something for you—and you don't have to fly to Miami to see it! Two ballet-centric films, the drama Sin La Habana (Without Havana) and documentary Cuban Dancer, will be featured in theaters and virtually at the 38th annual Miami Film Festival, running March 5 to 14.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks