Former skateboarder, and street dancer Jacob Jonas is making a name for himself and is expanding to a public performance on the pier.
Jonas is a Santa Monica native and founder of his own dance company. He grew up dancing on the Venice Boardwalk and attending the Twilight Concert Series every summer. Since then he has always wanted to create an event similar to the music concerts on the pier, but for dance.
On Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30, at 6 p.m., JJTC will host To the Sea: Dance Concerts on the Pier event.
“To the Sea brings together world-class talent to an iconic West Los Angeles landmark,” said Jonas. “I wanted to create this event to make dance more accessible and visible to the community.”
JJTC is a 21st Century dance company located in Santa Monica. Jonas started the company in 2014 and since then it has been gaining a lot of attention and recognition for mixing contemporary ballet, breakdance and acrobatic movement.
“What makes my company unique is that I cast a versatile group of people,” said Jonas.
The event features artists like Montreal’s Les 7 Doigts de La Main (the world-renowned circus company most known for their Broadway show “TRACES”); Tony Testa (choreographer for Michael Jackson, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj, among others); American Ballet Theater’s Jeffery Cirio and his Cirio Collective with work by Gregory Dolbashian; Los Angeles’ commercial-dance trio The Seaweed Sisters, featuring Jillian Meyers (La La Land), Dana Wilson (Justin Timberlake), and Megan Lawson (Madonna); concert dancer Andrea Schermoly (formerly with the Nederlands Dans Theater and Boston Ballet); Andrew Winghart, whose work was most recently featured in the 89th Annual Academy Awards.
JJTC has produced numerous shows and because of their passion and commitment they have toured New York City as well as Vancouver.
“Each artist really brings passion to each performance,” said Jonas.
The two night dance festival on the Pier is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Santa Monica and Santa Monica Cultural Affairs.
Jonas will be paying tribute to his mentor, Mr. Animation at the event. Mr. Animation was a famous street performer for 30 years on the Santa Monica Pier and the Third Street Promenade.
“This past year Mr. Animation passed away,” said Jonas. “Him and I were very close and he was well recognized in the Santa Monica community. For this event, hoping that it becomes annual, we will be having a Mr. Animation Legacy Award.”
JJTC will give the Mr. Animation Legacy Award to someone in the street dance community who is doing great things and carrying on the legacy of Mr. Animation.
The event will take place on the West end of the Pier during sunset, giving the guest the feel of the popular Twilight Concerts on the Pier. Admission to the festival is free, but advanced RSVP at tothesea.eventbrite.com is required.