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Brandon Bryant: ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Runner-up

Utahn Brandon Bryant had auditioned for the fourth season of the hit televison series So You Think You Can Dance, but didn’t make the cut. He returned for season five auditions and danced his way through to the top 10 dancers. Then, on Aug.6, 2009, Brandon took runner-up to Jeanine Mason as America’s Top Dancer. But that hasn’t deterred Brandon’s dreams nor did it keep Utah Governor Herbert from naming August 20 as Brandon Bryant Day.

Tony Hobday: Run down your experience on ‘So You Think You Can Dance?’

Brandon Bryant: It was definitely an experience all its own; it was hard and enduring, both physically and mentally. It hurt, it all just hurt. [laughs].

TH: Why do you think you made it through this season but not last?

BB: This year I came more prepared. I think knowing all that was required of me last year worked to my advantage this year. I knew what to look for, what to expect, what I needed to bring to the table.

TH: You came so close to becoming America’s Top Dancer, how disappointed are you that you came in second?

BB: I honestly wasn’t that disappointed. Just to say that I made it all the way to the end of the show, in the top two is an award in itself. For anyone who doesn’t make it to the end, it doesn’t really matter; the point is the exposure. Not to say I wouldn’t have liked the money [$250,000], I’m not going to lie. And I’m really glad that Jeanine did win because we’re kind of from the same place and I’m proud we got to stand together.

TH: Have you been approached yet by any big name artists or choreographers?

BB: I haven’t been approached yet. I’m still under contract with the show for the next three months during the tour, so I can’t really do anything else. But I’m planning to move out to L.A. at the end of the year and hopefully offers will come in then.

TH: Why Los Angeles?

BB: I just want to strike while the iron’s hot and I feel like out there is where you can really make a name for yourself.

TH: Tell us about your background in dance?

BB: I started dancing at age 9 because I was watching a Britney Spears video. I’m not going to lie to you. I was like wow those backup dancers are really amazing. I want to do that. So I went to performing art schools from elementary to high school. Then I went to a dance school in Miami, which is where I got all my ability.

TH: How long have you been with [Utah’s] Odyssey Dance Company?

BB: I was with Odyssey Dance just last season. It was an amazing experience; I feel like it really prepared me for the concert world. I never thought I’d do a Paso Doble or a tango, but with the Odyssey troupe, we are required to do all styles. That really prepared me for the show.

The artistic director [ of Odyssey], Darryl Yeager, let me off contract to go back and audition for the show again because he knew I worked so hard for it last season, and he said I had a really good shot for it. He’s been very supportive the entire time.

TH: According to the ‘Brandon Bryant Fans’ Facebook page, there are over 5,000 fans. How does that feel, did you ever expect to becoming so popular?

BB: I never expected to hit like even 1,000 fans on Facebook. I’m just a quiet person, I keep to myself and only have a few friends. I think the show opens minds and respect for the Arts. And I’m so happy and thankful that my little page of 5,000 people appreciate what I do.

TH: August 20th has been proclaimed Brandon Bryant Day by Gov. Herbert. That’s quite a honor, right?

BB: It’s kind of cool, I’m not going to lie. I think it’s wild that a dancer like me has “a day.”

TH: Your own little party day.

BB: I know, I’m like ‘can everyone get off work and come play with me.’

Brandon tours with the rest of the Top 10 dancers of So You Think You Can Dance later this year. They are scheduled to be in Salt Lake City, Nov. 7 at the E Center. Tickets are available at theecenter.com or call 800-745-3000.

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