DANCE NEWS: James Whiteside Presents 150 Kids With At-Home Dance Floors In The Spirit Of Giving
James Whiteside, ballet’s boldest American principal dancer, presents Fancy Nut Mix, an online holiday benefit of Nutcracker excerpts featuring a cast of leading American dance stars, December 20, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. Produced by Emmy-nominated producer and dancer Garen Scribner in partnership with Harlequin Floors, the evening will raise funds to provide dancers in need a platform to share their work, their why, and win a portable dance mat to Take the Floor and dance into the new year.
A spectacle of Nutcracker magic will transport audiences to the land of the sweets—the home of the Sugar Plum Fairy, portrayed and choreographed by Whiteside, en pointe. Joined by a cast to celebrate the suite of dances from the beloved land, the evening will also include a Soldier Dance duet, with James and Harper Watters (Soloist, Houston Ballet), an indelible and virtuosic Coffee, both created and performed by Whiteside and long-time partner Isabella Boylston (Principal, American Ballet Theatre), piping hot Tea served by Emmy award-winning choreographer Al Blackstone and danced by Whiteside and Tiler Peck (Principal, New York City Ballet), Candy Canes, a tap duet for Whiteside and Demi Remick choreographed by dance artist Remick, and The Grand Pas de Deux featuring the voracity and classical chops of Whiteside and Isabella Boylston in the traditional choreography of Alexei Ratmansky.
The benefit will also include guest appearances by Shannon Bobannon, James’ Journalist Alter Ego Persona, via live satellite, a first-ever interview with the Banksy of dance," satirical ballet-world-insider Ballet Moods, Jack Ferver and Reid Bartelme of Dance and Stuff Podcast, and a special and festive rendition of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas arranged by Michael Scales and performed by Whiteside and Anthony Santos, dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Leading up to and throughout the evening, viewers can donate to #takethefloor2021 campaign, an initiative created by Whiteside and Scribner to provide portable Harlequin dance mats to more than 100 young dancers in need of the resources to continue their dance training amid continued COVID closures. “This Holiday season, I wanted to find a way to provide young dancers with a chance to dance and a floor to dance on,” explains Whiteside. “COVID-19 has prevented in-studio training and #TakeTheFloor2021 will hopefully inspire kids to keep dancing anywhere!” “While not everyone may have the space to roll out a floor at home, these floors also roll up and travel,” adds producer Garen Scribner. “Take your floor to the park, dance for your community, or find a place that inspires you to create. At 6.5 x 3.25, this multi-purpose dance floor is easy to transport and perfect for all styles of dance too!”
Aspiring dancers around the country can submit to win an at-home dance floor via Instagram. The submission period will be open through December 31, 2020. The first winner will be announced during the Fancy Nut Mix stream on December 20 to kick off the holiday season of giving, and all other winners on January 8th, 2021.
STREAMING SCHEDULE AND INFORMATION
James Whiteside Presents: Fancy Nut Mix, A Holiday Benefit will stream on James Whiteside’s YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/jbwhiteside27, December 20, 2020, at 7:00 p.m.
This performance is free to view.
Donations go directly to providing selected young dancers with Harlequin mats and can be made here: https://pages.donately.com/dancersemergencyfund/campaign/takethefloor2021
SUBMISSION INFORMATION AND GUIDELINES
Beginning December 10th, contestants can post a video to Instagram using #takethefloor2021, explaining how they will stand up and Take the Floor in 2021 and how having an at-home professional dance floor will make an impact in their lives. To be considered, dancers must follow James Whiteside (@jamesbwhiteside), Harlequin (@harlequinfloorsusa) and Take the Floor 2021 (@takethefloor2021) on Instagram. Dancers can film themselves doing James’s #takethefloor2021 challenge, seen on his Instagram page, or submit a dance video in their current dance space. Submissions should be no longer than 60 seconds, and all profile settings must be made public. Submissions close December 31, 2020. Open to US residents only
*One winner will be announced during the December 20 virtual performance and awarded a Harlequin Dance Mat, a Dance Mat bag, a free month of virtual classes courtesy of the Kanyok Arts Initiative and a gift pack of other dance wear. All other winners will be announced on January 8, 2021.