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 44, Jennifer is the SOMA HOUSE co-founder and creative director who hails from NYC where she spent more than 30 years dancing classical ballet and contemporary dance before moving to Seville, Spain to study flamenco with the renowned Los Farrucos. She has been voted as one of London’s top barre instructors with her unique barre method and leads SOMA’s creative programmes and business strategy. 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. She co-founded Cambridge Contemporary Dance where she served as Artistic Director, dancer and choreographer. She received her MPhil in Indian Philosophy and Sanskrit at Cambridge University with work on yoga research as well as Mahayana Buddhism and the limits of thought. She also holds certifications in executive management and evolutionary genetics from Cambridge and an Honours BA in Comparative Literature with work on film, women’s studies and colonial discourse.
For dance she studied at Repertory Dance Theatre, Richmond School of Ballet, The Mark Morris Company, The Place, Broadway Dance Center, Hofstra University, University of the Arts, Flamenco Los Farrucos, Steps and did the New York City Ballet Workout training in NYC. She has more than 20 years experience with Hot Yoga teaching and practicing across the world. She is now known for creative flows having created the SOMA elementals method with the mission to rethink yoga movement. She is also a mother so understands students who struggle to find time. Having recovered from a c-section herself, she often works with students post-birth.
Dr. Theo is the SOMA HOUSE co-founder and a Biotechnology scientist having completed his doctorate in mental disorders at the University of Cambridge. He previously conducted cancer research in the US and shark research in South Africa. His first leadership role dates back to 1998, being a military police officer in the Cyprus Army.
He has sat on the boards of various health and academic start-ups and was the President of the prestigious Cambridge University Technology & Entrepreneurship Club (CUTEC) with an interest in medical technologies.
Since 1994, Theo has been involved in international competitive rowing and competed as a semi-pro cyclist in the US under Olympic coaching. While sports has always been Theo’s core pursuit, he diversified academically as a graduate of Imperial College (London, UK), Singularity University (NASA, Silicon Valley), Trinity College of Music (London, UK) and Bikram Yoga College of India (Los Angeles, USA).
Theo discovered Hot Yoga after multiple cycling injuries led to spine surgery. After rehabilitating his spine over the last decade, he now maintains his health combining Hot Yoga, Calisthenics and Cycling as well as spending time with his baby girl Aria and yellow lab Obree. Theo is nowadays committing all his time in sharing his experience on the importance of marrying sports, Yoga and Cross-Training into a unified strong mental discipline.