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Jacob Jonas

Jacob Jonas lives and works in Los Angeles as a director, choreographer, and artistic director. We recently caught up with this talented 24 year old to discuss entrepreneurship, his dance company, and where he sources his inspiration.

Photography by Matthew Brush @brush

Hi, Jacob. Tell us about yourself!

I’m a director, choreographer and artistic director of Jacob Jonas the Company. We’re a Los Angeles-based company that creates dance for live audiences and the camera.

We love what you’re doing. You’re just 24! You’ve been busy…

We’re trying to shift the traditional way of how people view dance—to help find bigger and younger audiences and make dance a more valued art form. Most [dance] companies are non-profits—they’re dependent on people to support work that’s of significance and purpose. We’re trying to take high-art dance and intersect it with other disciplines, like architecture, science and fashion to make the viewership wider and find new ways to financially support creative development.

What are some projects you have in the works currently?

We’re working on a project right now called Bridge the Gap, where we team up with scientists in different fields. For the first installment, “SPACED", we’re collaborating with a physicist who studies outer space. Choreographers are creating dances that will explore the parallels between dance and cosmology, inspired by his work. In the field of medicine, we’re exploring the experiences of individuals living with different diseases.

How did you get started in dancing?

When I was 13, I came across a street-performing group in Venice Beach. From then on, I knew where I wanted to be. 

What was it that sparked your interest?

I was inspired by the energy of the street performers, and their positivity. I liked that they were a team with everybody working really hard. When I was 16, I received a scholarship to a studio in Brentwood called MnR Dance Factory and trained there in modern and contemporary dance. Later on, I eventually started choreographing my own work and submitting it to competitions and festivals.

Who inspires you?

In terms of choreographers, Donald Byrd, Jacques Hiem, Lloyd Newson, and Merce Cunningham. I’m also very inspired by creative thinkers outside the dance world: David Kelly (the CEO and founder of IDEO), Frank Gehry, and David Blaine.

What are some of your favorite places to have performed, and where would you like to perform in the future?

Venice Beach boardwalk is one of my favorites, along with Jacob’s Pillow, The Getty Museum and The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. For the future, there isn’t a specific venue but I want to do everything on a larger scale. Directing feature films, music videos and commercials and having my company tour. I also hope to create an academy where we teach and rehearse.

What’s your favorite thing about dancing?

Freedom of expression. I love the exploration of solving problems. The team element is also important—cultivating relationships with people who help me grow.

When you’re not dancing, what are you up to?

Building my foundation administratively, cultivating new relationships, creatively challenging myself, and observing life.

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Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

What are ways that you find to relax and re-charge?

Spending time with my girlfriend, Jill, yoga, and doing cultural research.

Any advice to young people who are looking for ways to start a company or stay on a creative path?

First, find references of individuals or companies you admire and find what it is you admire about them. Then work as hard as you can to develop those strengths. Also, create a portfolio of work and cultivate a team of people to support your vision and mission.

What did you think of the Wool & Prince shirt you wore? 

I wore a dress shirt and really loved the movement and texture. For the t-shirt, I loved the tight fit and how it breathes. It fit very well to my body and looks good in a corporate setting.

Jacob is 6 ft tall, 195 lbs, prefers a loose fit, and wears a size XL slim fit button-down and a XL tee. Most guys with Jacob's height/weight would prefer a size L.

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