The dance ace is bringing L.A. to its feet.
Though Jacob Jonas didn’t start dancing until he was 13—joining The Calypso Tumblers, a group of Venice Beach street performers‚ he rapidly made up for his late start. Winning both a RAW artist award in 2012 and the Capezio A.C.E. award in 2013 didn’t hurt, and pairing him with Spectrum Dance Theater’s Donald Byrd—who not only sharpened the young artist’s choreographic talents, but gave him a crash course in running a nonprofit—enabled the launch of Jacob Jonas The Company. Five years later, their blend of contemporary ballet, acrobatics and break dance is garnering much-deserved attention. But the 26-year-old Jonas has aspirations toward a larger audience, filming one new project a month in collaboration with the city’s local architects for his Instagram-based initiative, @camerasanddancers. “It’s an opportunity to introduce younger people to the work that you’re doing, rather than just seeing the work onstage,” he explains. He’s also leading the company’s fifth season at the Wallis, where they’ll premier all new works, and there’s the third iteration of the spring dance festival they produce on the Santa Monica Pier. It’s just another example of Jonas dancing up a storm.
JESSE VARGAS & SHANE SCHEEL
The duo transforms films into spectacular live shows.
The impetus to entertain has long lured dreamers to Los Angeles. Those who succeed are the ones who, rather than waiting for their big break, put together their own projects. “I moved here as a performer and quickly realized that the other side of the table was much more interesting to me,” says Shane Scheel, who saw an empty bar as an opportunity. “We created this forum for actors out here for pilot season to stop by and sing,” he says of the performances, which he develops with Jesse Vargas, the musical supervisor and arranger. This being Hollywood, show tunes were scrapped in favor of movie soundtracks. And, thus, For The Record was born. Not quite cabaret, not quite musical, the performances tap the oeuvres of filmmakers—they’ve tacked Quentin Tarantino and Baz Luhrmann, among others—and attracted stars to join them both onstage (Rumer Willis and Evan Rachel Wood have participated) and off (audiences included Tarantino and Barbra Streisand). Now a fixture at the Wallis, their latest offering, Love, Actually Live, is a multimedia experience that combines the projected film with live singing and dancing, “reimagining how the storyline is put together using the music to drive a new pastiche,” Scheel explains. Now that’s how to make it in show business.
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