John Prats: Probing the Prince of Dance
Having attended a Pupil gig the previous night, I was nourished with events I'm typically used to: Bohemian looking guys and girls coming in and out of the bar, a frail female guitarist who looked to cute (and didn't even bother to look at me while I deliver a lame pickup line to get her attention) to play a mean punk solo alongside a lanky Spiderman costume wearing bassist of a band named Kiko Machine and finally watching a reincarnated legend (and personal hero) known as Ely Buendia perform alongside his new gang.
Approximately 14 hours later, I was entering a dance rehearsal studio inside ABS-CBN's compound where a different scene unfolded before me. Boys, looking very young to even but a drink greeted me as I entered the spacious studio. Sports bags, rubber shoes, colorful towels, socks, sport shorts, shirts, C2 and Gatorade bottles piled up the many corners of the room. The modern dance track Gasolina that played in heavy rotation almost made me run for my life.
“Ayos ang pin mo ha,” a vibrant John Pratts smiles at me, referring to the yellow pin placed at the strap of my shoulder bag. "‘Rage Against the Machine!'” he exclaims.
Honestly, simply hearing John mention Zach de la Rocha's former band's name with a valid familiarity is quite surprising. Not that I expect him to overly naďve about the existence of a hard-rocking, militant band nor I'm being judgmental or discriminating towards the good-looking actor. It's just a sincere impression on my part, seeing him dance regularly hip-hop and rap tunes while clad nicely with casual, trendy clothes. It's a bit unlikely to imagine John chanting the line “---- you I wont do what you tell me” while playing air guitar inside his room. But then at that instance John reminded me nonchalantly. “I play the drums, di ba?”
Growing up before the public
“I grew up in the public eye that's why I can't really say that I miss my privacy or yung life before napunta ako ng showbiz. Nagsimula kasi ako 8 years old lang so parang laro-laro lang talaga during the start. Never ko namang inisip na puwede pala talagang maging career ang pagiging artista,” John confides.
Now at 21, John doesn't feel like he's being left out by some of his contemporaries. “I'm happy naman with my current status. Depende naman kasi sa tao yun, ako kuntento naman ako and pana-panahon din yan,” John shares.
Earning a business degree at Thames is one reason why John couldn't really give a whole lot of his time to showbiz in the past. “I just want to have a good fallback in the future that's why I really made sure na tapusin yung schooling ko sa Thames ,” says the young actor.
Last seen in the movie Ako Legal Wife under Regal Films, John can only look back and feel proud of his role in the said Mano Po sequel. “Gay yung role ko dun sa film which is very challenging kaya I'm very fond of that movie. It's a dream role actually.”
Isn't he concerned that he'll be typecast or be labeled as gay for playing such role? “Hindi naman,” he answers.
“That's why I am an actor. As an actor it's my job to portray roles and adopt different characters which most of the time malayo sa personality ko. Yun nga yung challenging part ‘pag artista ka, how you'll be able to give life to a certain character,” the ASAP Fanatic mainstay elaborates.
“I'm usually asleep ‘pag nasa bahay ako. Hindi naman ako mahilig gumala so I usually play video games or watch CSI series. I also love music and I listen to everything, sound trip lang sa house.”
Seeing me smiling, he beamed and tapped me on the shoulder complete with a good laugh, “Kahit rock, pare. Hindi lang Justin Timberlake and the likes. Currently my favorite record is the Eraserheads tribute album Ultraelectormagneticjam.”
Great! I thought, considering I've just seen Ely the night before. Other than that he says he goes to Alabang every Saturday to hang out with fellow car enthusiasts.
Thirteen years in show business taught John the meaning of dedication, discipline but most importantly the virtue of being humble.
“Common perception naman yun pag artista kasi. Sasabihin mayabang or ganito pero hindi naman. Siyempre like everyone else, tao lang di kaya minsan wala sa mood or minsan napipikon din. But most of us (showbiz people) naman are normal just like everyone else. If you think about it nga, it's more of people's perception on artistas kaya they think differently of us pero wala naman talaga kaming pagkakaiba,” John cites.
He is usually turned on to people who are pleasant and get easily turned off by people who are mayabang.
“There are some who exude a nice aura. But I maintain an open mind naman kahit kanino kaya it's good to really know that person kasi baka mali din yung unang impression mo pero if it turns out na totoo, okay lang din as long as they're not doing you any harm.”
Prince of Dance
Surprisingly John maintains a simple wish on how he wants to be remembered by his fans. “Prince of dance,” he simply answers. “But seriously I still have a lot to prove and I want to win an acting award in the future.”
But for now he's taking his sweet time to reach his goals. And as I watched John dance comfortably and happily to the annoyingly catchy tune of Gasolina at the same time remembering how fairly-decent he is as a drummer, a cloud of thought crossed my mind: What if I trade my guitar for a pair of dancing shoes? Tough luck. I guess not all are lucky and talented enough to do two different things effectively.