The 24-Year-Old Choreographer Who Puts Branding At The Center Of His Art

Sometimes it seems like the arts retreat further and further into their own arts bubbles. That is – the arts play to particular arts audiences, continually reinforcing those audiences but finding it more and more difficult to reach general audiences. So how to break out beyond dance audiences if you’re a dancer?

Twenty-four-year-old dancer/choreographer Jacob Jonas has an idea, reports the Los Angeles Times. He’s a former skateboarder, and his work borrows from range of traditions and forms. He’s also got a different idea about an artist’s role in art:

Jonas is as much a businessman as he is an artist, and he’s proud to tell you so. He laments the fact that universities teach students how to make art but not what to do with it.

“Artists fail when they aren’t able to make their art a brand,” says the choreographer and dancer, who is lean in an almost feline way, with thick muscles that propel him into lithe motion at the slightest provocation. “We want to be at the intersection of dance and fashion — of dance and advertising. How do we get dance to a wider audience?”

With a wider audience, Jonas reasons, comes the kind of financial support that dance needs to sustain itself and rise to the level of music, television and film when it comes to commercial visibility.

Dance is probably one of the most undervalued art forms in society “in terms of how it’s set up as a profit model,” he says.

Jonas believes that the traditional “pure” art of dance has become disconnected from the larger culture. To reconnect, he has imagined his work as an intersection of other things which are already familiar to the audiences he wants to reach. His vision of “branding” is to sit his work in the paths of those who aren’t already dance audiences and let them define the context.

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