Jason Sermonia is one extraordinary artist in the world of dance.
He has appeared in some memorable musicals at the Stratford Festival including ‘A Chorus Line’, ‘The Music Man’, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ and appeared in the Broadway production of ‘Superstar’ when it transferred.
I also saw Jason perform at Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre in a very naughty and adult production of ‘Snow White: The Panto’ which was a riot to watch and so much fun.
At 18 years of age, Jason appeared in the Toronto production of ‘The Lion King’. He also appeared as a dancer in the film version of ‘Chicago’ and performed in two Tony Award presentations in New York.
We conducted our conversation via email. Thank you for adding to the discussion, Jason:
It’s a harsh reality that the worldwide pandemic of Covid 19 has changed all of us. Describe how your understanding of the world you know and how your perception and experience have changed on a personal level.
Over the course of the pandemic, I’ve come to realize that the world works heavily on a structured and scheduled way of life. We are always looking ahead and planning what’s next. Making multiple backup plans for every scenario or barrier that may get in our way.
The pandemic forced me to slow down and take life day by day because you never know what the future will hold. We live in a world where everything is fast paced. Everything has a time slot or time limit, to a point that it is no longer quality time well spent.
The pandemic taught me to take my time, use my time wisely and spend quality time with those who I love.
With live indoor theatre shut for one year plus, with it appearing it may not re-open any time soon, how has your understanding and perception as a professional artist of the live theatre industry been altered and changed?
No matter what the circumstances are in the world, artists will always find a way make art or use their amazing skills to find or create work. Artists are so versatile. We can wear many hats no matter what challenges are put forth.
Although the live theatre industry is at its worldwide interval, nothing has stopped me from continuing my training. I will be ready when those curtains open again. The world needs live theatre. The world needs that reality check out.
Art will always survive, and I believe that the industry will be stronger than ever when it returns.
As a professional artist, what are you missing the most about the live theatre industry?
As much as I miss performing in front of a live audience, what I miss the most is the rehearsal space. It’s the place where you get to create art onto a blank canvas, explore your craft, tell stories, crack jokes and most importantly build a community… build a family.
It’s where all the magic happens.
As a professional artist, what is the one thing you will never take for granted again in the live theatre industry when you return to it?
That the last time you perform on a stage may be your last. Embrace every moment. Enjoy every moment. Be grateful for every moment.
As an artist, every job, every gig, every opportunity is temporary. It has a beginning and an end. I always think that every time I hit that stage, I am possibly changing someone’s perception and possibly someone’s life.
Describe one element you hope has changed concerning the live theatre industry.
I hope the live theatre industry continues to represent more and more BIPOC artists not only onstage but offstage as well. I hope the live theatre industry continues their efforts to celebrate diversity and embrace all kinds.
Explain what specifically you believe you must still accomplish within the industry.
I would love to accomplish becoming a choreographer within the industry. My love of dance and movement is itching for the opportunity to choreograph a musical or dance piece for film and tv.
Some artists are saying that audiences must be prepared for a tsunami of Covid themed stories in the return to live theatre. Would you elaborate on this statement both as an artist in the theatre, and as an audience member observing the theatre.
I believe that it’s too soon. It’s too close to home.
Live theatre, yes, is to relate to stories and themes of our society but I think live theatre should focus on getting patrons back into the theatre and give them an opportunity to escape reality just for a moment. I think live theatre should and will present Covid themed stories but just not at this time.
As an artist, what specifically is it about your work that you want future audiences to remember about you?
I would want people to remember me for my love of the arts. How I danced and performed my heart out every night on stage. My joy of creating works with friends not for money or fame but for the love of art. How I was a strong leader and team player.