Jacob Jonas is a Choreographer and Film Director based out of Los Angeles, CA. His passion for dance was ignited when he saw The Calypso Tumblers, a street-performing group on the Venice Beach boardwalk. Jacob joined the group and started to go on tour here in the states as well as internationally.
Jacob continued his training and decided to study other forms of dance such as concert, commercial, and street. Now his love for dancing led him to his true passion, which is choreography. Jonas has started a Kickstarter program to raise some funds to be able to produce a dance show.
I was able to chat with Jacob about dancing, choreography, and his Kickstarter campaign.
Art Eddy: Jacob, tell me about your Kickstarter campaign?
Jacob Jonas: This past August, I brought together a group of dancers from across the country to compete in the annual Capezio ACE Awards. The Capezio ACE Awards is an international choreography competition held in New York City where over 200 of the best choreographers submit and only 16 are chosen to perform live in NYC. Of those 16, I was fortunate enough to place third and as a prize received $2500 toward producing a 3-night show in August 2014 at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater in NYC. In addition to these three nights, the Highways Performance Space in Los Angeles invited me to premiere the show in Los Angeles at their Santa Monica Theater.
From that experience, I launched my own company, Jacob Jonas The Company, a Los Angeles based creative company that works in dance, production and arts education. I held a small fundraising event this past January to officially announce the company, but only raised a quarter of my budget for these upcoming shows. With shows only three months away, I decided to go on Kickstarter to raise the rest of the funds covering costs of travel, costuming, lighting, sound and paying the incredible team that is behind me, who have been generously donating their time thus far and deserve to be paid. These five shows are the first shows of Jacob Jonas The Company and I want to produce them properly. I see longevity in this company and the possibilities are endless, but I need to start off strong.
AE: How can people help you out?
JJ: The biggest way is to donate. Honestly, any amount helps us get closer to our goal. The way Kickstarter works is that if you don’t reach your goal, you don’t get any of the funding. If financially that isn’t possible, spreading the world about the company through social media and word of mouth is just as important. We want to build a community.
AE: You were inspired to be a dancer when you watched The Calypso Tumblers. What was it about that group that ignited your passion for dance?
JJ: The energy, confidence, and strength that was involved in the performance as well as the physicality of what they were doing got my attention. When I saw that they were more than a team and that they were a family it made me want to be a part of what they were doing.
AE: Within a year of being introduced to The Calypso Tumblers you joined them. What was it like when you first started dancing with them?
JJ: It was very fulfilling, but also intimidating. When I started, I had never danced before so I wasn’t evening the show. I joined the group as the DJ. I had to practice by myself and push myself to get as good as them and finally could dance with them.
AE: You are a choreographer and a film director. Do you prefer one over the other?
JJ: I wouldn’t prefer one over the other because I am able to communicate a message through both and find purpose in what I am doing. I do feel that choreography is one of the rawest art forms as it doesn’t need a canvas, a microphone or a camera and therefore I think it’s more organic to create.
AE: Do you have a favorite style of dance?
JJ: To me every style is a different technique and I use each technique to create a story. Its ballet, jazz, popping, waving, acrobatics all combined into movement.
AE: What advice would you give to people looking to get into dancing?
JJ: Not just for dance, but for anything you want to pursue in life: learn everything about what you are doing, be the best you can be, work incredibly hard, and don’t do anything alone, have a community and team of people with you.
AE: Who would you like to work with for your next dance project?
JJ: There are artists that I am inspired by that I hope to eventually work with, but right now I am working with some of the most talented artists that I believe in and hope that this Kickstarter raises the money it needs so that I can continue working with them and create that work under my company.