We are delighted to be publishing the second instalment of our article series, ‘The Asian Creatives Project.’
This series shines a light on special Asian creatives in Vienna – their stories, work and experiences being creatives in Vienna.
Since many people that are considered “Asian” often are swept under the rug or not taken seriously by the mainstream media, we want to do the opposite by highlighting them. Fighting the stereotypes, clichés and the marginalisation of the Asian community in Vienna.
This time around, we’re diving into the world of dance with a very special person – dancer, John Patrick Olegario, also known as jpo_untdnc on Instagram.
His style of dance is modern, fresh, with a bit of funky groove on the side.
“Dance isn’t just a set of specific movements. It is a feeling. Anyone can dance, but you need to put yourself into it, to make it “dance”. Otherwise, it’s just plain movement.”
Patrick doesn’t just randomly move to beats and music. He expresses himself and his story with movement, which is almost out of this world, letting the viewer in on an experience that is unique to every time he dances.
So, we met up with Patrick and got a lot of “dance” in our face, but we also got to see a totally different side of our second Asian creative.
Vienna Würstelstand: Please, introduce yourself.
P.Olegario: I am John Patrick Olegario and I am a dancer, teacher, and owner of my a studio called “Unity”.
How did you end up as a dancer?
I have been a dancer my whole life. I was an executive customer advisor for a company before switching into the real estate sector. I did dance whilst working and lived in between two worlds, but I felt like I needed to do more than that. So, I decided to build a dance studio and created The Unity Dance.
What is Unity?
Unity is a collective that I created. Not only for dancers, but also for people to exchange world views and their perspective on society. They can meet up in our space, dance and get to know each other.
What was it like, building your own studio?
To be honest with you, it was quite exhausting. At the first location we were in, it was very hard to coordinate classes and there were so many people dancing, that the city kinda’ evicted us, so we moved on.
It was hard finding a new place, but when we found our new home and settled in, there was this moment, I think, where all the hard work and exhaustion was worth it. There definitely is enough room to the top, but I am satisfied with everything that I have done so far.
How did your heritage and culture influence your style of dancing?
I am Filipino and every time I’m at home, I experience dance in another way. Filipino culture is about being very open and at every corner you look, there are people dancing and expressing themselves. For Filipino people, dance has a healing effect. They are happy and emotional at the same time. So I think that really influenced my dancing.
What 3 words best describe your dance style and what is your go-to-dance-move?
3 words..? Sharp, Groove, and Diversity. And hmm… I don’t know..I would say my go-to-dance-move is my head bounce. That’s because the very first thing I do before dancing is my head bounce, which gets me into the feeling, you know.
What are your aspirations/future goals?
Oh, there are so many, but I would say, to have more free time. For the past few years, I have been really busy and free time was a luxury.
So a definite goal would be to be able to do more outside and to work smart, and work hard. As for the studio, I want to keep being a trend-setter, not be mainstream. You know, I don’t want to focus on the business side of things, but on the artistic and human side.
Why is dance so important for the world?
Dance is a feeling, it doesn’t matter if you dance off-beat, or even just groove to the music – all of it is dance.
Nowadays everything is used for commercial reasons, but I think people that dance have a responsibility to deliver a message, different than the one portrayed on social media. For me, as the director of Unity Dance, it is important to get the right message across.
‘Everyone can dance, and as long as you can feel and express yourself…you’re dancing.’
“Be different and be first”
This is the principal Patrick lives and works by.
Patrick Olegario isn’t just some random dancer from Vienna – he is somebody who’s embracing his art as a way to encourage people to be different, to be confident, to be themselves, but most importantly, to do what they love to do.