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At 17, he’s found his purpose, and it’s to dance

Date: May 28, 2017 | by Lisa Deaderick, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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As a 6-year-old, Jacob Soble watched his first tap dancing class and couldn’t help himself. He tried it and immediately took to it. Dancing came so easily to him, picking up the steps and learning the choreography were just natural.                                                                                                                                                                     

“I connect with dance because I have always connected with music, in general, and I am very physically expressive,” he says.  

Today, Jacob is 17 and practices contemporary, modern, jazz, tap, hip hop and ballet, along with teaching classes at a number of local studios (like Culture Shock and Metro Dance) and creating his own choreography for others. He’s performed in showcases for Malashock Dance, has been recognized with awards for both his dancing and choreography, and is scheduled to participate as an artist in the San Diego International Fringe Festival near the end of June. He’ll also be performing in the adult spring showcase for Malashock Dance at 7 p.m. on June 17 at La Jolla Country Day School.

Jacob, who lives with his parents and older brother in Carmel Valley, took some time to talk about his love of dance, his work as a choreographer and the non-profit he’s starting to teach dance to kids who can’t afford to pay for private lessons.

Q: Why did you move into choreography?

A: Destiny led me there once I started dancing in my room to music, ultimately leading me to creating dances in my garage, and then it took off from there. I feel that my choreography is an extension of who I am as an artist. For some choreographers, it’s about how high their dancers can leap or how many turns they can do on stage, but for me, those are “tricks,” like going through the steps. My choreography and style are very unique. I want to tell a story to the audience of genuine emotion and heartfelt expression. To me, it’s about, “How did you feel when you watched me dance or watch my choreography come to life?”

Q: Isn’t choreography still dancing? Why is moving into choreography considered a significant step?

A: Moving into choreography makes dance itself more personal to the choreographer. In addition, I feel from experience that moving into choreography has brought me closer to dance and eventually led me to finding my purpose in life.

Q: When you have a new piece you’re working on, how do you approach it?

A: I listen to a broad range of music to select the right song. I consider what message I want to convey and how I want the audience to feel. When putting together and choreographing a new piece, I tend to listen to a bunch of songs to decide on which ones I feel a connection to. From there, I study the meaning of the song and its lyrics, and base my choreography on that. I also base it on how the music makes me feel. 

 

What I love about Carmel Valley …

I have lots of friends in Carmel Valley. I love the diversity in my neighborhood as well as the beautiful beaches.

 

Q: How do you go about matching up the right song and the right moves with your dancers?

A: I always start choreography on a dancer based off of their look and appearance on stage. I also take into consideration their skill level and the moves they excel at. Then, I will choose a song that correlates with their look and style of dance.

Q: Who is one of the choreographers you admire and why?

A: I admire local choreographer Anthony Rodriguez because his work is not a bunch of tricks, but movement that has intent and meaning behind it, telling a story, with each movement being unique.

Q: What are your goals for your art?

A: My goal as a dancer is to share my love and passion for dance. I plan to study dance in college and pursue every opportunity to showcase my talent. My goal as a choreographer is to have my own production company.

Q: How did you come to the philosophy of “Dance for yourself from your heart, and not for others”?

A: In the dance world, so many people are fixated on how many turns you can do and how high your leaps are and keeping up with the latest dance trend. This led me to feeling strongly about dancing for myself because I steer away from tricks and dance trends and focus on what I am feeling when I am dancing, and the intent behind my movements.

Q: Tell us about the non-profit you’re working toward.

A: I am very excited to be starting my non-profit, ‘Love 2 Dance.’ I created my outreach program so I can give children the opportunity to dance in areas of San Diego where children may not be fortunate enough to have dance studios in their neighborhoods or not have the ability to pay for a dance class. I will be traveling to schools in South County and East County teaching two hours of dance every other Friday completely free of charge to children ages 11-13. I want to do this because I feel so fortunate to share my love of dance with this new generation of kids to help motivate them in their lives.

Q: What’s been rewarding about your work as both a dancer and a choreographer?

A: It’s rewarding to perfect a dance both as a choreographer and dancer. To move an audience as a dancer or a choreographer is extremely gratifying. It’s also rewarding to help dancers with my choreography.

Q: What has it taught you about yourself?

A: I have learned the importance of hard work.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

A: To dance for yourself. Don’t worry about what other people think about you.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?

A: I enjoy finding vintage clothes to wear.

Q: Describe your ideal San Diego weekend.

A: Thrifting, going to the cat café and eating at Trilogy.