25 to Watch 2018: Jacob Jonas

Jonas and Jacob Jonas The Company co-founder Jill Wilson. Photo by Oveck Reyes, Courtesy Jonas.

How many 25-year-old company founders can say they have a resumé of collaborations with everyone from The Kennedy Center to Pilobolus to The Getty Museum? Not many, save Jacob Jonas, artistic director of Jacob Jonas The Company and founder of the #CamerasandDancers Instameet series. His Los Angeles–based contemporary dance company boasts sleek, virtuosic dancers and fresh, inventive choreography—but it's his ingenious brand-building know-how that has garnered him 80,000 Instagram followers and a reputation across the national dance community.

Part of Jonas' success stems from using #CamerasandDancers—a meetup where dancers and photographers collaborate on shots in unique settings—to boost his own company and career. But it's the participants who have the most to gain from his innovative series, where everyone walks away with striking images for their portfolios—and, of course, their Instagram feeds. In just three short years, Jonas has redefined what it means to market dance to millennials.

The Conversation
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)

Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.

Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.

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Health & Body
Getty Images

I'd been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I'd been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never stopped dancing. It finally dawned on me that if I kept going at the speed I was going (which was, well, speedy), the pain would only get more severe and unrelenting, and I might never dance again.

I told myself I'd take two months off, and all would be better.

That first morning when I woke up at 10 am, I had no idea what to do with myself. My life until that moment had been dictated by class and rehearsal, every hour accounted for. How should I fill the huge swath of time ahead of me?

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