SOMA was founded by the Cambridge grad team, Dr. Theo Koutroukides and Jennifer Hersch who met while he was completing his PhD in biotechnology and she was finishing her MPhil in Indian Philosophy and Sanskrit. They couldn’t find a space to train themselves as they had combined experience across competitive sports, dance, science, hot yoga and more. So they created SOMA HOUSE as a sanctuary to do intelligent cross-training in an organic space without pretence; a place that feels like coming home; a place you could train at day in and day out. “Members step right into a Swiss ski lodge from the City,” says Hersch. “We call it honest luxury.”
At 46, Jennifer hails from NYC where she spent more than 40 years dancing in classical ballet, contemporary dance, jazz, musical theatre and flamenco. She studied at leading schools and won awards for ballet choreography.
After graduating from Cambridge, she served as the Head of the MBA programme for Cambridge University and was a founding director of the Entrepreneurship Centre at Columbia Business School. Other work spans across the Whitney Museum of American Art, Carnegie Hall and Pearson Publishers.
While in Cambridge, she co-founded Cambridge Contemporary Dance where she served as Artistic Director, dancer and choreographer. She created, “Light Matter,” the first dance performance to be given permission in the Senate House at Cambridge University for its 800th Anniversary collaborating with world-class visual artists, musicians and other choreographers.
Jennifer is a co-founder of SOMA HOUSE, a leading luxury boutique studio in London named one of the best places for classes by Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and Time Out. She has been voted as a top London instructor and established teacher training programmes to create elite instructors internationally over the last decade.
She received her MPhil in Indian Philosophy/Sanskrit at Cambridge University with work on yoga research as well as Mahayana Buddhism and the limits of thought. She holds certifications in executive management and evolutionary genetics from Cambridge and an Honours BA in Comparative Literature with work on film and colonial discourse.
Jennifer has been fortunate to practise her passion in teaching dance and other movement for more than 20 years and is also a mother so understands people who struggle to find time.
Theo is a biotechnology scientist with a doctorate in neuropsychiatric disorders from Cambridge University. He was part of the Cambridge team establishing the first blood test for early onset Schizophrenia diagnosis. Beyond his work on brain and mental illnesses, his medical curiosity extended from the biomolecular level conducting cancer research and metabolomics in the US to animal ecosystems doing great white shark research in South Africa.
His first leadership role dates back to 1998 in Cyprus military as one of only six officers completing military police training under special forces units. Over the last two decades, he has sat on the boards of various health and academic startups while founding tech and wellbeing ventures.
Since 1994, Theo has been involved in international competitive rowing and raced in UCI professional cycling races in the US under Olympic coaching in preparation for Beijing 2008. While qualifying for the Olympics, he sustained multiple cycling injuries leaving him unable to walk for months leading to spine surgery. Theo rehabilitated his body over the next decade developing a unique cross-training method marrying sports, yoga and science into a unified strong mental discipline that he now coaches.
While mindbody training has always been Theo’s core pursuit, he diversified academically as a graduate of Imperial College (London, UK); Cambridge University (Cambridge, UK); Singularity University (NASA, Silicon Valley); Trinity College of Music (London, UK); and Bikram Yoga College of India (Los Angeles, USA).
The thrill of exploring indiscriminately different dimensions of life always served as a driving force for Dr. Theo. His superpower is inexhaustible enthusiasm, which can often be excessive even for his baby girl Aria and yellow lab Obree with whom cherishes every moment, and who offer him unwavering purpose to keep fighting for a better world.