Jacob Jonas
December 1, 2014

Music for cross-genre movement

Jonas, mid-flight above Wilson, in In a Room on Broad St.

For In a Room on Broad St., Jacob Jonas mixed contemporary ballet and pedestrian movement with break-dancing and circus skills. Dancers perform flips and head spins, and in one gasp-inducing moment, Jonas dives headlong into a somersault over his dance partner and girlfriend, Jill Wilson. The piece won second runner-up at the 2013 Capezio A.C.E. Awards. The blend of styles isn’t surprising once you learn the 22-year-old choreographer started as a street performer on the Venice Beach boardwalk with a group called the Calypso Tumblers. It was not until his junior year of high school that he began training in classical and commercial styles on scholarship at a nearby competition studio.

Today, he looks for dancers with similarly mixed backgrounds to perform with the new Jacob Jonas The Company, founded earlier this year. “I like to get a contemporary dancer and a break-dancer together, create movement and then have them work together to figure out what it means for them,” he says. “My dancers have to be open to exploring.” DT




Song: “Rap God”

Artist: Eminem

“I often put a song on repeat and lock myself in a studio for hours. This is one of those songs that pull a lot out of me. The feelings of defensiveness and aggression bring out some great movement qualities.”



Song: “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”

Artist: Radiohead

“Really any of Thom Yorke’s work takes me to another world. This song seems to have a subconscious message that I can’t explain. I often rely on spontaneity when creating movement, and when I turn on Thom, I can create for days.”



Song: “I Guess I’m Floating”

Artist: M83

“I love sound that isn’t a song. Listening to the waves or kids playing at the park or loud airports, anything where you can just hear life being lived. This song lets you listen to life without thinking about lyrics or instrumentation.”



Song: “Three Little Birds”

Artist: Bob Marley

“Whenever I get too caught in my head in a process or in life, this song comes to the rescue. I always play it back to myself: ‘Don’t worry about a thing. ’Cause every little thing gonna be all right.’”





Photos from top: by Matthew Murphy, by Kat Irlin, both courtesy of Jonas

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