Jonathan "Bionic" Bayani & I've been dancing for 22 Years. I was born & raised in Northern California most of my life. I currently live in North Hollywood/Los Angeles.
I started dancing HipHop from watching my Brothers do Moves like the Roger Rabbit, Robocop, Reebok, etc. also they were doing New Jack Swing.
After that I saw bboying at my Neighbor's house. They were 5 siblings who always had house parties there and dancers from San Francisco, Oakland, Vallejo, San Jose would come and get down. I fell in love with from then on. Only problem was I was super chubby at the time and couldn't bboy too well but I would watch people do these box shaped movements with their arms which I come to find out later was a form of tutting and puzzles. I got hooked with it and found I was creative with that style. Then came waving and popping and It was ON!
Dancing me keeps me going because of the creativity that lies in the dance. I always have since day one treated the dance like how I felt when I was kid. I get bored fast so I was always looking for something new to work on with the dance or find new inspirations to elevate my popping and other styles. I took classes of other styles like House, HipHop, Choreography, Top Rock, etc to inspire me. I think when you grow as a dancer you find things outside your style and elevate your way of thinking. You adapt with the music faster because you have much more to play around with. I say the best way to keep going as a dancer is always ask yourself...why did you first Dance. I think there you will find your answer. It's reaching out to that pure level of thinking.
Being a professional Dancer to me has become so rewarding for the fact that I wanted not to be a professional Dancer. I actually tried quitting dancing because I wanted to focus on a career that could get me steady income and sustain. I also have a daughter so of course I had to think about not only myself. However every time I tried to quit, Dance had some way of calling me back or giving me open doors. I saw this as a answer...the harder I tried to leave the scene, the more opportunities came knocking. I knew from there that I had to move to LA and go for it. When I moved to LA I dealt with rejections but I was fearless and just had a strong belief to work harder on my goals, set my mind to keep pushing with my skills, and that eventually I would find a way in. That door opened in 2012 with Cirque Du Soleil. I was offered a main role in there Michael Jackson: Immortal World Tour. To me that was and is one of the amazing moments in my life for me. My Daughter being born of course is the TOP OF ALL AMAZING. Coming from an underground dancer and moving into that realm and performing for Sold Out Arenas. Just WOW...I was living a real dream come true.
Dancers looking into a professional career need to understand that this is not easy. I know plenty dancers have heard this before. I could talk about so many different avenues but I can keep it straight on this. Remember that Dancers are not paid like they used to be. Unless you are a choreographer, consultant, etc...Look at dance and the professional side and just do your best. Save your money too! once you start booking don't act like money will be flowing. There will be tons of off times...slow times. Take advantage of those as time for you to work on your skills. Take classes, Not just choreography but styles like popping, house, hiphop, krump, bboying, etc. For Freestyle Dancers looking to get into the industry...TAKE SOME CHOREOGRAPHY CLASSES and LEARN...I don't care how much of an ego you have...you need to LEARN because you and that one skill of dance will only take you so far. In a tour or show you work with other people like a TEAM...it's not just about you. Unless it a specific commercial or skill set asked of you in a show then fine...but please learn to get choreography in your system. It will only make it easier for you to get booked. To those dancers in hard times, Hang in there and if you know you have what it takes then eventually you will find your way. Stay Humble and Hungry. For Dancers in General, Please be realistic and don't go screwing yourself over and not find a way to get income in. If you have to get a job, do so...but please have a backup plan and organize your life and prepare to SACRIFICE! The professional side of DANCE is not for everyone.
As a Dancer I find inspiration from so many different things. Two examples...One is I have taken up Martial Arts. I used to do Tae Kwan Do as a kid but now I do Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Filipino Martial Arts. There is a balance, mentality, spirituality, discipline that I have attached from Martial Arts to my dance and it's elevated it heavily. I am older but keeping up with this has made my body way more healthy now than I was in my Twenties. Another form of inspiration was when I did Cirque Du Soleil was studying Character development. I studied Marcel Marceau, Charlie Chaplin, Nicholas Brothers, and I even got in contact with Mj's personal teacher Pop n Taco and learned from him as well. This outlook of studying people and characters has helped opened a new door of creativity with my dance. It has made dance more personal for me.
I think with dance, being self-taught was a special experience for me. I started and succeeded so much on my own without help. I found my own identity and character... my own feel for music and interpretation. However like in life...you can't just do it all ALONE. There will have to be more ways to grow. I ended up taking classes and learning from people. That connection, that building, seeing what other dancers went through while growing is a big reason Dance became a bigger world to me. The connection of having a mentor helped me meet other dancers that were going what I was going through that wanted to grow. Find a new way with guidance. I found my group Machine Gone Funk this way. I don't think Dance should ever be a selfish thing. Knowing you are being blessed with a talent I believe it is our duty as we get older to pass it on to the next generation. My Happiness with dance & my life is to inspire people all over the world. This is the one thing I learned since I started traveling in 1998. Sharing with someone that doesn't speak the same language but once you start getting down in the same circle you understand one another right away. Universal language.