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Coachella Valley Choreographer Spotlight – Jacob Montoya

Coachella Valley Choreographer Spotlight – Jacob Montoya

18th Annual Choreography Festival Spotlight: Award Winning Choreographer, Jacob Montoya

By Michelle Roe

Arts and culture in the Coachella Valley continues to draw impassioned talent from around the globe to share their artistry with fortunate desert patrons.  In the coming weeks, dance enthusiasts, in particular, eagerly await the 18th Annual Choreography Festival at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert on November 7th and 8th, 2015 to celebrate the creativity and harmony of dance as an art form.

Founded by choreographer and desert resident Shea New, and now championed by the McCallum Theatre Institute, the festival has grown into a prestigious affair including, both, a pro and pre-professional choreography competition, outreach projects, workshops, residencies and a Lifetime Achievement Award presentation, this year, Honoring Mr. Daniel Ezralow. 

This event is an exciting opportunity for gifted choreographers and dancers to showcase their work and network with other talented artists.   Making his second appearance at the Choreography Festival following his fluid finalist piece at last year’s event, “Presence”, award-winning choreographer, Jacob Montoya will be bringing an Elite group of performers from Hawkins Performing Arts Academy to perform in the pre-professional division to present a contemporary modern piece with jazz influence titled, “Juliet”.  This piece is a compelling interpretation pulled from classic literature and uses movement to provide an intimate glimpse into moments that provoke emotion in all of us. 

According to Montoya, “It’s a piece that represents the bond that love can create.” 

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Award Winning Choreographer, Jacob Montoya

Montoya’s thoughts on his double achievement, his passions and motivations to teach aspiring young dancers:

 On a personal level:

“ I am so humbled and honored to be accepted, once again.I am grateful for the Festival, itself, and the people that believe in choreography and dance enough to make these incredible events a reality.” 

 As a teacher and choreographer:

“I’m so proud of my dancers for taking this journey with me and their willingness to be vulnerable.  I am so happy they are going to be able to showcase their talent and passion as well as grow from so many amazing dancers by simply viewing and appreciating other artist’s voices. ”

 As an artist:

“My dream and mission is to inspire and being accepted a second time only helps strengthen the idea that my work is creating an imprint. Art is all about self expression and all I can hope for is that my work resonates with someone else. What a gift to have an opportunity of this scale.”

 Favorite Quote:

“You can’t adjust the wind, but you can adjust the sail”


  • “’Game of Thrones’, elephants and wild life preservation…I have a passion for dance. “
  • “I am passionate about story telling.”
  • “I am passionate about exploration and I am passionate about having a voice.”
  • “I am truly passionate about life and people.”

 Teaching Philosophy:

“I feel that dance is the perfect tool to express life’s levels.  All things that we have experienced…all things we dream of and hope for and anything in between. This is what propels my love for teaching students.  I want to be able to give them a structure that will not only teach them how to do the craft of dance beautifully and with artistic integrity…but I want to be able to provide them with a safe place to express their levels. At any age we deal with so many different aspects of life and when you are young, things just seem to be a little bit bigger.  That’s why I teach. I want to help my dancers grow as people…give them enough room to be emotional through their dancing and give them enough structure so they understand balance and discipline. “

 For a complete list of performing artists, event schedules, details and ticket information, please visit: www.mccallumtheatre.com.

 Jacob Montoya Bio

 Nationally recognized, award-winning choreographer, Jake Montoya, is a native of Sacramento, California where he continues to explore his gift for dance as a performer, teacher, and influencer in his community.   His passion for the study of his craft, his students, and his outreach programs to promote dance in local area schools is shared with enthusiasm and generosity of heart.

 Montoya is trained in jazz, ballet, tap, contemporary and hip hop.  He studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is also trained in the Horton Modern Technique and has certification in Erick Hawkins Modern Technique.

 Montoya has worked with many inspiring choreographers including Margot Mink Colbert (Juilliard) Bernard Gaddis (Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre) Kelli Leighton (Core Contemporary Dance) Missy Cochran Entertainment and the directors of the Korea National Sport University in Seoul. In 2012 Jacob was awarded dance educator of the year for the Sacramento Area.

Montoya is the Artistic Director of the Hawkins Contemporary Jazz Company at Hawkins School of Performing Arts and is currently a teacher at Sacramento Theatre Company and Rio Valley Charter school. He has also served on the Staff for the Sacramento Ballet, Northern California Dance Conservatory. 

Montoya’s latest labor of love is his development of the Sacramento Contemporary Dance Theatre, a company dedicated to giving back to the Sacramento community expressing a voice through dance.

Montoya’s work as a performer and choreographer has earned him both nominations and awards for the prestigious ELLY presented by the Sacramento Area Theatre Alliance and his original pieces have been recognized twice at the Palm Desert International Choreography Festival.

Inspired by the likes of Alvin Ailey, Fosse, Sidra Bell and Twyla Harp, Montoya infuses his enthusiasm for classic literature with his fascination for the human body and human relationships to create thoughtful compositions that move the human spirit. 




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