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Jacob Jonas The Company Begins Its Wallis Dance Residency

Jacob Jonas, left, with two members of his Jacob Jonas The Company dance ensemble. Photo by Grant Legan
The Company is kicking off its Wallis alliance with an initial intimate show of world premieres, including three by Jonas, in the Lovelace Studio Theater.

Posted Monday, October 15, 2018 - 11:53 am

Dancer, choreographer and 2010 Beverly Hills High School graduate Jacob Jonas is happy to be in his home turf.

The popular dance ensemble he founded, Jacob Jonas The Company, currently celebrating its fifth season, has been named company-in-residence for Beverly Hills’ Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts’ 2018-19 season.

After sold-out, ecstatically reviewed performances in the 2016-17 season, The Company was asked back by The Wallis’ Artistic Director Paul Crewes. “We’re pleased to support The Company’s forward trajectory by expanding our commitment to Jacob and his unique company of dancers,” he said.

“This is a big moment for us,” says Jonas. “It means having a home and place to share premiered work. We’re really excited.” The residency will include the ensemble’s second engagement May 10-11 next year and education outreach opportunities.

The Company is kicking off its Wallis alliance with an initial intimate show of world premieres at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 24-Saturday, Oct. 27, in the Lovelace Studio Theater, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. The Company is the first to play the Wallis’ smaller “black box” space.

And or the first time, The Company has commissioned works by guest choreographers.

Unknown Territories is by Donald Byrd, Bessie award-winner, Tony-nominated choreographer (The Color Purple) and Jonas’ mentor. “We did a competition and D­onald was one of the judges and one of the prizes was a mentoring session with him,” says Jonas “It turned into three months and working with his company in Seattle.

The dance is to music by Israeli singer/musician Avi Belleli.

Cupido is by Latino choreographer Omar Román de Jesús, born in Puerto Rico and based in New York. Jonas met him through his #CamerasandDancers—a monthly location-specific Instameet combining dance and photography through partnerships with cultural institutions, dance companies, and social media influencers.

The Company has more than 80,000 Instagram followers and is big on social media. “It’s important to support the arts and engage with younger audiences online,“ Jonas says.

With music by Calle 13, Eduardo Galeano, Silvio Rodríguez and Caloncho, the piece “is a romantic celebration of love and Spanish culture,” Jonas says.

“I know it’s a challenge for choreographers to work with dancers of different abilities,” Jonas says. His unique “modern ballet” company of 10 highlights acrobats and breakdancers, reflecting his background working with the Calypso Tumblers, a street-performing group on the Venice Beach boardwalk at the age of 13. “I like to cast people in different styles,” Jonas adds.

Jonas is also debuting three new works:

Crash, inspired by ocean waves. “I wanted to do an abstract piece on what a crashing wave looks like, but with human bodies,” Jonas says. The piece will be accompanied live by Afro-pop singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Ghana, West Africa, Okaidja Afroso, who’s creating an original score.

• Jonas is keeping the details of Make A Toast a surprise. And it will be performed with no accompaniment.

• Transfer, about “moving from, learning from, and growing from one person to another,” Jonas says, stars Jill Wilson. Music is by Dustin O’Halloran.

To be placed on the waiting list for October performances, visit TheWallis.org or call 310-746-4000.

—Steve Simmons

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