Dancing is not always thought of as a sport, but it takes remarkable strength and athleticism to do well. Jake Evans didn’t start out his life as an adult teaching dance. If fact, he had chosen a career path far from from such an expressive one. Evans was an employee of Bell Canada working in corporate sales and living in Halifax.
Evans had done all kinds of sports in his youth including skateboarding and BMX biking. He was interested in arts and sculpting. His life was far from boring, but at 27, Evans knew he needed to do more. Feeling a need to groove, Evans took his first dance steps. He was inspired by breakdancers. “I practiced in my living room for about two years, but I progressed very slowly,” Evans stated. “Then, after moving to Penticton, I spent four years at the Penticton School of Dance. I just thought breakdancing was great and I decided that I was going to go back in time and learn how to break.”
“In 2001, I sold almost all my belongings and went to a dance camp in L.A. where I got to dance with the zombies from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video,” Evans continued. “It was really the beginning of a new life for me.” Evans became the guy to go to to learn some new moves and he made a little money on the side teaching workshops. “Then, eventually, I was able to quit my day job.”
Now approaching forty, Evans teaches full time out of M Body Dance Studio in Penticton and “I love it,” he said. “I love teaching the kids and hanging out with them. I rent a space, do classes, travel and teach lots of kids through the schools. It is great.”
From the moment, Evans stepped onto the gymnasium floor at Vermilion Forks Elementary to teach his eager students a few funky moves, he connected with them. They were attentive and having fun.
Evans was brought in to the school after band teacher Mrs. Coates saw him in Penticton putting on a show. “Myrna brought the idea forward and was the laison for putting the day together. The PAC pitched in to bring him here,” said principal Barry Clarke, “and it seems to have been a good choice. The kids are really getting in to it. It’s a nice way to break up the cold winter months.”
Evans is a man not afraid to follow his heart and a man who is fulfilling a dream. He hopes to hold workshops at every school in B.C. and with the determination he has already proven, the dream might not be to unattainable. “I have a three year old son and you should see him now,” Evans said proudly. His son is not the first success story. Natalie Lyons was one of his students and she made it to top 14 in “So You Think You Can Dance?”
“As long as the Advil keeps working, I’ll keep dancing,” Evans joked. Evans teaches breakdancing, locking, free running and more. He has cross-trained sports teams. “There are so many parallels between dance and other sports that it can really help athletes with their agility,” he added. Dancing, running or training Evans is doing something he loves. It is a lesson many could learn from.