The half-hour programme is now available on James Whiteside’s YouTube channel and is free to view – donations are voluntary.
During online ballet classes, Whiteside noted that some children had their own home dance studios while many others were less fortunate.
I asked him why he’d decided to do it.
Fancy Nut Mix: A Nutcracker Benefit is a fun and entertaining way for me to give back this holiday season. My goal is to give dancers a chance to dance and a floor to dance on.
So he contacted some of his dancing friends and with Emmy-nominated producer and dancer Garen Scribner and Harlequin Floors they devised the fundraiser. Harlequin’s portable dance floors are the prize, and Whiteside is hoping to give away 150.
I’m thrilled that my friends will be appearing with me in this benefit and I hope we can provide many Harlequin dance mats to aspiring dancers.
Dancers can film themselves doing Whiteside’s #takethefloor2021 challenge, seen on his Instagram page, or submit a dance video in their current dance space. Full rules and regulations can be consulted on the Harlequin Floors site. The competition is open to US residents only.
“A Trepak Grows in Brooklyn” Demi Remick & James Whiteside
Choreography: Demi Remick
DP: Victor Jeffreys II
“A Tea Dance: I Haven’t Seen You Since Lockdown”
Tiler Peck & James Whiteside
Choreography: Al Blackstone
DP: Connor Holloway
“Drosselmeyer’s Big Gay Gifts”
Harper Watters & James Whiteside
Choreography: James Whiteside
“The Nutcracker: Grand Pas de Deux – DVD Commentary”
Isabella Boylston & James Whiteside
Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky & Lev Ivanov (Clara Variation)
Commentary by Dance & Stuff’s Reid Bartelme & Jack Ferver
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
Anthony Santos & James Whiteside
Arranged for piano and performed by Michael Scales
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.