People and Places
IN CONVERSATION – JAN 2020 – Dancin’ man has the world at his feet

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Kate Sears speaks to Jason Coleman ahead of his All Aboard and The Humanimals Return performances in Rosebud with his dance school, The Ministry of Dance. Jason’s passion for dance and choreography has propelled him to global stardom.  

You’ve stated that your career began when you performed at the Logies at the age of 17. Tell us about the journey that led to this moment.
I started dancing at the age of four. I started ballet at eight years old. When I was 12 I was given a scholarship to the College of the Arts. When I was 15 I attended the National Theatre ballet school full time. And when I was 16 I was accepted into the Australian Ballet. It was while I was attending the Australian Ballet that I saw a show called Dancin’ Man, produced by the legendary song and dance man David Atkins. I knew then and there that I wanted to dance with him, for him, as a part of his company. Three weeks later I scored an audition for him. He hired me that day 35 years ago and I proudly joined his company, including dancing at my first Logies in 1988. The amazing thing is I still work and produce with the very same man today. 

From performing at the Manchester Commonwealth Games to choreographing commercials and the Australian production of Hairspray, did you ever picture your career following this path? I always knew what I wanted to be. I always wanted to be working as a creative director, choreographer and producer. I feel very lucky that my dreams have manifested into a life that I love. I never could have known when I was little, often teased for dancing and (being) a country boy, that my craft could lead me to work in 27 different countries. I am very proud to have worked on some of the biggest and most prestigious events on earth. 

What was the process behind creating The Ministry of Dance?Building The Ministry of Dance is the best thing I ever did. I knew it was a good business plan but I was a little naive about how emotionally connected I would become to the world I created. The Ministry of Dance is a hub for the theatre and the commercial dance scene. My agency and production house are providing work for younger versions of myself so the full-circle nature of it is very rewarding and even a cathartic experience.

What has been your most rewarding experience so far?Oh, so many moments. However, sitting in the grandstand of the brand new Stadium Australia on September 15, 2000, watching the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games was pretty amazing. I cried like a baby, to be honest. I had a realisation that what was once an idea in my head was now being watched by the entire planet. Three and a half billion people were watching something that I had created. It was very profound and very emotional.  

What can we expect from your upcoming shows at Rosebud?
All Aboard
is highly charged, sophisticated, world-class cabaret. I have gathered the finest group of singers and dancers in the country. The show is fast-paced, irreverent and a little bit tongue in cheek. It is two hours of splendour and fun. Prepare to be entertained and enlightened by this super-sexy team of dynamic performers. The Humanimals is everything just described above but fully designed for families. Follow this nonsensical journey as five young characters make their way through the animal kingdom in search of which animal is the most important. This all-Australian story is truly hilarious for both the kids and mum and dad.

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