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Style: Folsom | El Dorado Hills

Get to Know Jacob Montoya, Founder of the Sacramento Contemporary Dance Theater

Mar 29, 2016 05:06PM ● By Amber Foster

For Jacob Montoya, teacher and choreographer at Hawkins School of Performing Arts, attending a dance performance is about more than entertainment. “It should be thought-provoking,” he explains. “You explore, you think…you leave changed by it.”

 Montoya got his start as a dancer at age 11, when he began classes at The Conservatory of Dance in Rocklin. He later earned a scholarship to the prestigious Broadway Dance Academy and went on to a have successful career as a professional dancer and choreographer. But Montoya always knew he wanted to do more with his art; he wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. Last year, he founded a non-profit dance company, Sacramento Contemporary Dance Theater, whose mission is to present cutting-edge contemporary dance for a good cause. In December 2015, the company performed Resilience, raising over $12,000 for the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. This June, the company will perform Sign of Life—a concert featuring a mix of dance and American Sign Language—at the Jill Solberg Performing Arts Center, with all proceeds to benefit organizations supporting deaf or hearing-impaired children and adults. 

As an instructor, Montoya’s primary goal is to teach children that the power of dance can change people’s lives, including their own. “So much of art from an artist’s standpoint can be self-serving,” he shares. “[But] when you’re working with young dancers, it’s important to teach them lessons about life…how to be the best version of themselves, always.”

Article by Amber Foster // Photo by Dante Fontana


Q: What advice would you give to your younger self? 

A: Don’t hesitate and follow my instincts when it comes to my voice as an artist. 

Q: What comes to you naturally?

A: The ability to see potential in all things: my students, choreography, art, and life in general. 

Q: What are you most proud of?

A: Creating a life that I love. I get to make a living doing what I adore, and doing so in the arts field is not easy. I feel very blessed! 

Q: Favorite humanitarian cause?

A: Saint John’s Program for Real Change.

Q: Best words of wisdom you’ve received?

A: Allow yourself to be great.

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