We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandon Bryant and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brandon, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I was born and raised in Miami FL and since the age of me knowing how to walk I’ve always wanted to dance. Now in the South, down South where the sun is always shining and the beach is well… almost 24/7 year-round, globe warming you know. Life in Miami could have been perceived as an amazing place to live but growing up in Miami it was all about the culture and respect you had to earn from everyone like your teachers and even more your peers.
In the 1900’s Being a black boy in the south wasn’t the worst time to be a man of color but what I was taught by my parents [ Diane & Carlton Bryant] was that I’m not like the other kids, I shouldn’t expect things to be handed to me and that I needed to work and show my due diligence to respect who I am and the morals I stand for. I was taught that “NO” is just a two-letter word and that “No right now doesn’t mean No forever.”
See, growing up in Miami we always had to show up or shut up, and that was advice from my middle school dance teacher. There was no time for tears only time to make beast.
Now Let me break down that phrase “Beast”-I’m sure you’ve heard of beast mode and this is similar to what I’m referring to when I phrase it in an artist performing arts form.
Being a full-time athlete with dance 12 hours a day seven days a week with an occasional Sunday off unless a mandatory rehearsal was called, or we had to compete at competition. Dance was my passion and love, and I was damn good at it. But what I ended up really learning more from dance was structure, dedication, perseverance, drive, motivation, knowledge, courage, enlightenment and a mean cha-cha.
All these things combined together set me up for the real world and also gave to the strive to never give up on your dreams. Now Miami did keep it real, and all dreams don’t come true in the moment or time that we expect it but my wise grandmother use to always say, “He might not always be there when you need him, but he’ll get there when he can.” – Donnie McClurkin
Walking with my head high, feeling positivity surround me, I always keep in mind it’s hard to impress everyone all the time but what keeps me pushing forward is knowing there’s no one like me on this earth, yes there may be other to resemble or even copy but trust you me there is only one Creative mind of Brandon Bryant and he’s just getting started.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I come from an era where we don’t take no for an answer. And also if they don’t ask then you don’t tell. I remember one day they were holding dance auditions at my studio in Miami [Dance Empire] And my teacher at the time insisted I come to the studio to audition. Little did I know there was an age requirement to be on this specific competition. Nevertheless I thought why not this would be a great opportunity to see where I stand in the professional world. Lo and behold I end up actually passing that round of auditions and I am asked to attend a New York callback. As excited and thrilled as I was to go to the Big Apple I had to have a reality check and that reality I was only 15 years old and could not compete. After I came clean to my mom she then had to informed the production of my forgery. I can’t say they were the happiest but I did get an invitation back for when I did turn of age. Three years went by and I trained, I taught at my dance studio and I took class all over. I knew once that opportunity came again I was going to take it and run as far as I could. That experience plus others at such a young age I feel made me always strive to do better then I see myself in the mirror. It made me never want to have to wait three years for anything again. So when I did make the top 20 cast of “So You Think You Can Dance” for season 5 I knew what gear to punch it in and the direction to go was up.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
You know given that Covid is still a thing it’s hard to really talk about all my favorite spots but what I have come to appreciate is all the natural beauty around. Because that’s all to do!
I do feel I get the best of both worlds because Las Vegas and Los Angeles are so close you can go for a hike at Runyon Canyon in the morning and then be on the Vegas strip by 9pm ready to see the Bellagio fountains. Then after that have some dinner and drinks at the garden downtown near Fremont street.
Any beach, Museum, theme park we’re doing.
Food wise : Catch LA ,Bossa Nova, Nora’s cafe, El Pepe, Dick’s last resort (Because who doesn’t like S**TY service but make it fun,) Pizza Rev, Any sushi, any Korean bbq, Uncel Andreas BBQ (or if you find someone with a smoker on the side of the road, they’re usually the best BBQ Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people and factors that have influenced my life to this point today. From dancing at my family’s 12th reunion, to my school plays, the two studio that got my technique together and the very first ever kids Hip Hop group to be asked to perform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Suzy Stone, Keisha Derrick Whitfield, Baraba Del-gatto, Angel Logan, Twanna Hall, Alison Hesh, Hilda Jimmenz, Rebecca Santalo, Jennifer Knepper IIIa.) My amazing friends who were there to support me thru all good and bad. and most importantly my family, Brittany Bryant (older sister), Travis Givens (older Brother), Carlton Bryant (Father- deceased), and the woman who keep the dream alive for me, who was there at every show, my biggest support and my hardest credit, My mother Diane Robinson Bryant. I was lucky to have a support system to be there and I encourage you to make sure you find that too. You can write your story alone or you can find connections on the way to help better pave that trail to success.
Norbert Mery, William Slater, Eran Levi and Ignacia Diaz