Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacob Soble.
Jacob, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am a self-taught choreographer and contemporary/modern dancer. I received training and instruction at a young age in tap from the age of six until I turned 13. Soon after, I started competition dance and experimenting with choreography in my garage. At first when I presented my choreography in the studio, I was made fun of and condescended, ultimately receiving little to no support from peers and teachers around me because my style was “so different”. This was the boost I needed to accelerate my passion for dance and to find my “voice” as an artist, to ultimately trust the work I put out there and to not be precious about it as well. Currently, my passion is teaching and choreographing for students of all ages and levels throughout San Diego County. I try to teach as much as I can so I can create more and see my work on other bodies, which is the most rewarding factor as a choreographer in my opinion. I now teach and educate students in movement and contemporary dance at Culture Shock Dance Center, Dance and Company, Golden State Ballet and Pilates, and many more studios and facilities in San Diego County.
Has it been a smooth road?
Primarily Age Discrimination from studios in the surrounding area. I have learned to accept that not everyone will like your style and choreography and learning that it is OKAY and to create for ONESELF and not FOR OTHERS. Furthermore, this carries over to dancing for oneself and not dancing solely to impress others and to maintain an ego that one may feel obligation to. I always remind myself when stressed about something dance related to just “dance” and do what you love. Dance becomes too serious and very conservative especially in the modern and contemporary community/world so it is important to stay true to the passion and not forget why you started dance in the first place.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Soble Dance Movement story. Tell us more about the business.
Soble Dance Movement is the inspired vision of Jacob Soble. Soble Dance Movement represents my company (local professionals that I seek out and hire to learn my choreography and present it at choreography festivals and showcase) as well as my 501c tax exempt Non-Profit dance program, “Love2Dance”. I donate my time teaching students Hip Hop and Contemporary dance after school in the East County School District for my Non-profit. I hope to make a difference by inspiring a new generation of dancers who may not have the opportunity to be exposed to dance.
My passion for dance is evident the moment I take the stage. I am most known for my unique teaching style and approaches to movement, musicality, having to been described as captivating, special and breathtaking. I believe that dance is and must be a safe space in order for students to fully find their potential and artistry within themselves. Many dancers lose their individual artistry at a young age due to conservative training programs and traditional training/approaches to movement. Although traditional technique and class is vital for any dancer’s development, I make sure to leave room for “artistic freedom and choices” when I teach my classes and train my dancers. Furthermore, these “choices”, textures, widen the horizons and freedom for any dancer when it comes to texture and stylistic approaches to movement and dance. Soble Dance Movement is overall a representation of my choreography: Jacob Soble Choreography. I hope to expand my non-profit as well as my company in the near future once I achieve my BA in Dance from San Diego State University.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I see the industry going many different ways in the next 5-10 years. Social media is responsible for the shifts in the industry, ultimately making half the battle as an artist “a popularity contest”. Furthermore, platforms like Instagram and Facebook are vital to a dancer or choreographer’s success in this day in age, ultimately being the primary outlet to share one’s work. I already see and experience the heavy influence of social media but truly hope that this changes due to the fact that artistry is being lost among the views and choreographers and dancers trying to stay popular ad relevant in the industry. Mediocre choreography and movement is being masked by technical “tricks”. I truly hope that the dance industry reclaims its’ roots which is dancing for the love and joy of dance and not for the views and to “impress” others.
Carmel Valley dancer and choreographer Jacob Soble was named “Best Dancer” at San Diego Theater’s Young Choreographer’s Showcase. His solo dance “Bitter Earth” captured the title. He also performed a duo titled “River.” In addition, Soble choreographed one of the show’s featured routines, “Knights in White Satin.” It was a sold out event with over 200 attendees for two shows held at the White Box Theater at Liberty Station. There were approximately 50 dancers in both shows with 10 chosen choreographers showcasing their artistic pieces. Studio owner Jean Isaacs congratulated Soble on his accomplishment. He was the recipient of the title along with a cash prize.
Soble is the founder of the 501c charity titled Love2Dance, volunteering his time at Lindo Park Elementary School in Lakeside as a guest dance instructor to elementary school students. He currently teaches at six studios throughout San Diego and will be attending college locally in the fall, pursuing his choreography and dancing endeavors. Videos of his dances and charity can be found at www.sobledancemovement.com
Jacob Soble is a Jewish 17-year-old who let his love of dance and helping others blossom into something special. He runs a nonprofit Love2dance and teaches dance to underprivileged elementary students in San Diego.
Jacob comments on how he started getting involved. “I didn’t really say that I want to teach. I just started to choreograph once I was 15. And that just led me to teaching because I was like ‘I want to choreograph not only myself, but other dancers.’ Then I just started to apply for jobs and then built my way up from there. I teach weekly at OhLaLa Dance Academy and Metro Dance. And I also teach over at Culture Shock and do a bunch of master classes at Pacific Motion Dance Center. Basically a bunch of studios around San Diego.”
He has been dancing since he was six years old and started competing at 13. He explains that he soon realized not everyone has had the same opportunities as him.
“A lot of times at school I would talk to other kids and I would be like ‘you should come take a class with me’ and they would say ‘oh I can’t afford that.’ I had heard of people not going on vacations or stuff like that, but back then it was when I started dance that wasn’t really in my reality. That kind of impacted me from the start. I also knew there were no studios in Lakeside or in La Mesa – there is no dance over there. Over here in Del Mar and Sorrento Valley area, there are so many dance studios here… but I know that down in La Mesa and the rural areas, they don’t have any opportunities to be introduced to dance. It is like not even heard of. It’s not considered a hobby or sport. I wanted to bring it into the school.”
Jacob wanted to bring dance classes to those that couldn’t afford it or have access to dance studios, so he created his nonprofit. “It is over at Lindo Park Elementary and Lakeside. It’s my nonprofit called Love2dance, and I go there every other Friday and I teach [for] two hours. I do hip hop and contemporary modern with their fifth graders. It’s a class of 25. It is really cool. Most of them haven’t been exposed to dance at all. So seeing first time dancers, you know, it starts rough obviously, but once they start getting the moves and getting more comfortable being in the class and dancing and moving it is really awesome to see who is progressing the fastest … It is cool to see them develop throughout the weeks that I go. In the future, I hope to expand it to other schools, but right now I’m out of time [laughs]. I always tell my mom I’m living two lives. I’m teaching as if I just got out of college and got my degree and I’m also going to college and have to do all that.”
He credits his experience with dance as a big influence in his life. “There are so many values of dance because dance is a discipline – it’s self discipline. You need to be able to work on your own. [And] it’s a community. You always treat your partners with respect and your dancers with respect. It is one big community. It teaches a lot of values to help other people around you and discipline and studying. It teaches the discipline of committing to something and following through.
The classes will culminate in a showcase recital next summer for the parents and teachers. Videos of his choreography and from his classes can be found at sobledancemovement.com.
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.
Carmel Valley resident Jacob Soble, 16, has been dancing since he was 6 years old and now the award-winning dancer can add the title of choreographer to his growing resume. The Canyon Crest Academy junior is enrolled in the dance program at Mira Costa College where he is pursuing his dance instructor’s certificate.
The CCA teen also teaches various types of dance, including modern, tap, jazz and contemporary at multiple dance studios throughout San Diego. He also teaches private dance lessons. One of Jacob’s most recent performances includes a duo with dance partner Emily Kogan in CCA’s “Queen Tribute.” The stellar performance received rave reviews from audience members with comments comparing the duo’s moves to those in the TV show “Dancing with the Stars.”
His passion for the art has grown exponentially over the years as he has garnered dozens of dance awards at regional, state and national levels. Jacob says even though he has faced many obstacles and resistance, he has persevered and those experiences have strengthened his mind and passion for the art. Jacob has some words of wisdom for aspiring dancers: “I believe you dance for yourself and dance from the heart. You don’t worry about people judging you and your dance. This is a way of communicating from the heart to others and yourself.”
When he is not in class or teaching dance, Jacob can be found taking master dance classes at the John Malashock Dance Company, as well as in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California. He believes in always improving his dance technique for himself and his students. The teen choreographer says he realizes the competitive nature of the dance industry but feels it’s what he was born to do.