Whiteside has written a thoughtful collection of essays that gives readers insight into what it means to be the kind of creative who can’t be pigeonholed into one genre ... Whiteside’s memoir is devoid of ballet gossip and drama, and he doesn’t spend much time ruminating on his accolades or praising the ballet world over which he reigns. He instead reflects on his own complicated relationship with dance and creativity ... It’s a refreshing break from the dusty past of ballet divahood, one that caters to a new, more open-minded generation of ballet fans ... We finish Center, Center with a better understanding of the dynamic nature of this specific creative person — and, perhaps, with a refreshing outlook on our own complex individuality.
This is a funny, frank, and sometimes raunchy 'almost memoir' in which no topic is off-limits, and all are presented with wit and style ... Whiteside is disarmingly honest as he writes about failures as well as triumphs. Teddy O’Connor’s quirky line drawings add just the right flourish to this singular book.
A debut that’s deeply resonant—but no less raunchy for it ... Through essays that jeté gracefully back and forth through time, Whiteside lays bare his Connecticut youth spent in a splintered family, his turbulent path toward coming out as a young gay ballet dancer in the 2000s, and a litany of misadventures ... The emotional core is firmly located in “Nancy,” a novella-length biography of Whiteside’s 'brilliant, complicated, unicorn of a mother' that is breathtaking in its vulnerability and tenderness ... The tone is not always so consistent ... Even with its bumpy delivery, this entertaining account is easy to devour.
Readers seeking details about his artistic training or technique are out of luck ... Whiteside tells his story candidly and with occasional humor...but he fails to provide any exciting scenes about opening nights or standout performances ... An energetic yet disjointed coming-of-age story; readers seeking insight into the world of ballet should look elsewhere.