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James Whiteside: Center Center

James Whiteside: Center Center

A Funny, Sexy, Sad Almost-Memoir of a Boy in Ballet. USA 2021, 240 pp., hardbound, € 29.95
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There's a mark on every stage around the world that signifies the center of its depth and width, called center center. James Whiteside has dreamed of standing on that very mark as a principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre ever since he was a 12-year-old blown away by watching the company's spring gala: the glamour, the virtuosity, the extremely fit men in tights! In this absurd and absurdist collection of essays, Whiteside tells us the story of how he got to the top of his field - stopping along the way to muse about the tragically fated childhood pets who taught him how to feel, reminisce on summer dance camps at which he paid more attention to partying than to ballet, and imagine fantastical run-ins with Jesus on Grindr. Also in these pages are tales of the two alter egos he created to subvert the strict classical rigor of ballet: JbDubs, an out-and-proud pop musician, and ?hu Betch, an over-the-top drag queen.
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