Meet Jake: Jewish Dancer of the Week

by Allison Friedman / March 6, 2019


Allie: What brought you to DC?

Jake: I was born in Los Angeles, and then my family moved to Potomac, Maryland for a few years before we relocated to Boston. I went to college in Minnesota and majored in political science. I knew I wanted to do something around government and politics, so I decided to move to DC when I graduated. I flew out here for a job interview about a week after graduating. I didn’t get that job, but still moved to DC full time. That was almost five years ago.

Allie: Describe your perfect DC day.

Jake: Honestly, I have not had a free weekend in a long time, because outside of my job I’m also in graduate school. But if I had the time, I would start my day with a cup of coffee and then go for a nice bike ride somewhere. Maybe I’d hit Rock Creek Park. Then I’d go for brunch with a few friends at Medium Rare.

After brunch, I’d like to go see something new in DC. When I first moved here and was unemployed, I made a habit out of finding obscure monuments and markers in DC. I’ve seen all sorts of random memorials in the city. So after brunch, I’d like to go to one of those with my friends. After that, I would go to my favorite Chinese restaurant Peter Chang’s out in Rockville and then magically get back to DC in time to go out salsa dancing.

Allie: Tell me more about your salsa dancing!

Jake: I first started dancing in third or fourth grade. I took after school lessons. Then, I took some dance classes in college for credit – they had salsa and swing dancing. I think you can’t spend time in the midwest without learning about agriculture and swing dancing. I tried to go out dancing in DC with mixed success, it wasn’t that fun to go alone. At the advice of a friend, I joined the Georgetown Ballroom Dance Team. Now, I’m learning actual ballroom dances to compete with. Like “Dancing with the Stars”, but less flash. I’ve learned foxtrot, waltz, quickstep, tango, samba, cha-cha, jive, and rumba.

Allie: “Roomba” – like the vacuum cleaning robot?

Jake: Um, I think of it more like rum the drink, which can be good to have before dancing.

Allie: What’s your favorite style of dance?

Jake: My favorite dances are the Latin dances like chacha, rumba, salsa, and jive. They’re fun to do and lighthearted. My instructor said they allegedly originated in brothels as a way to flirt.

Allie: What do you enjoy most about dancing?

Jake: I’ve always enjoyed dancing. I enjoy learning new routines. It’s healthy, a productive use of my time, and I’m learning a skill that I can show off when I go to weddings.


Allie: What are your goals for your future in dancing?

Jake: Getting better. I’ve been competing for a couple of years now and would like to place in a competition.

Allie: Outside of dance, what are your favorite ways to relax?

Jake: Going for a bike ride, cooking, and baking. This past weekend I made brownies with a graham cracker crust and caramel ganache on top!

Allie: Since Purim is coming up, have you thought about baking hamantaschen?

Jake: I have not, but probably should.

Allie: What are your favorite flavors of hamantaschen?

Jake: Raspberry, strawberry and apricot preserves, and chocolate.

Allie: What is on your life bucket list?

Jake: I’d like to go to New Orleans, and explore the U.S. more in general. I’m not a big solo traveler, so I haven’t traveled as much as I would like to. I really want to go back to Yosemite – I tried last year but there was a big wildfire and I had to cancel my plans to go to the park. I have a tent if anyone wants to go with me! [Editor’s note: Seriously, leave a comment below if interested….]

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Jake: They laugh!




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