Jonathan Bryant was born and raised in Tampa, Florida and has been living in Atlanta for several years. He grew being involved in the arts especially singing and dancing and decided that dance was his passion. His style is unique and is an expression of his personality through which he displays his visions and creativity through movement. He has a love for teaching and choreographing and has been dancing professionally since the age of 16. Jonathan was generous enough to take the time to tell us how he was able to balance his dance career while pursing higher education and future aspirations as well. We hope his words inspire and empower you to want more and do more.
Dance Mogul: At what age did you discover the passion for dance?
Jonathan Bryant: The age I discovered dance was probably around 9 or 10. I’ve always had a love for music and I would always sing to every song and listen to the instruments in the background when listening to music so it evolved into dancing. I would record videos on a VCR and then watch them over and over again to learn the choreography. I didn’t start thinking of it as a career until I was 15 and I’ve been pursuing it ever since.
Dance Mogul: Were your parents supportive of your dancing?
Jonathan Bryant: Yes, my parents have been supportive of my career for which I am grateful. My dad especially has been the main supporter because he would drive me around to auditions and rehearsals and come to my shows; he basically was kind of a dance dad lol. Even now my parents know I’m always doing a lot and wanting to get to the next level in my career so they help me in any way they can.
Dance Mogul: What was it about your inspirations that inspired you to be great?
Jonathan Bryant: What inspired me to dance and my inspirations was that dance was a way to express yourself through music and create great things to show yourself. One of my biggest inspirations was Janet Jackson and her videos because they were so different and creative, I loved it!
Dance Mogul: Who have you had the opportunity to train with?
Jonathan Bryant: I have had the honor of meeting and training with some amazing choreographers especially when I did SYTYCD. I wasn’t in the show, but I did make it to Vegas season 3 and got to learn from people like Mia Micheals and Tyce Diorio( hopefully I spelt that right). I’ve also trained with Rhapsody James, Luam, Kevin Maher and Chuck Maldonado through taking workshops and classes. Also there is amazing talent in Atlanta that help to shape my skills and talent like Quincy Lamar, CiCi Kelly, Monica Nobles, Kiki Ely among others. I’m still learning as well because nobody is the perfect dancer and each dancer always has something to learn which I think some people forget.
Dance Mogul: Tell us about some of your performance experiences?
Jonathan Bryant: I’ve done plenty of shows, showcases, live performances, movies, tv shows, working with artist, choreographing for people and teaching. I think in this industry a lot of people look at who or what you’ve done which is the job, but it doesn’t make you any less of a dancer. One of my first big jobs was going on tour with this show called RAGS, for which I got the chance to go to Vegas and dance for the Jerry Lewis Telethon and travel the country. There are so many more things that I want to do and haven’t gotten the chance to do, but I’m definitely blessed to have the experiences I have had and everybody has their journey in life and mine is far from over.
Dance Mogul: How do you balance dance and pursuing higher education?
Jonathan Bryant: I actually have a degree that I finished a little over a year ago from Georgia State University. Being in school and being a professional dancer was definitely a challenge. There are opportunities that I could not do because I was in school so I didn’t have the freedom like most of the people I knew. So to travel, train, and really network with the heavy hitters in the industry was difficult, because I didn’t have those opportunities it would affect my confidence. I wasn’t getting the same things everybody else was getting, but I had to realize that I was earning a degree and that was an accomplishment in itself and I’m happy and proud to have received a college education.
Dance Mogul: What advice do you have for up an coming dancers?
Jonathan Bryant: The advice I have for up and coming dancers is be yourself and be the best “you” you can be. It is so easy in this industry to lose yourself or want to be like other dancers who are working or getting big gigs, but know that there is something special about you. Also, this industry is not for the light hearted or the lazy. You have to work and grind to get where you want to get and not get caught up in all of the madness in the industry. I think my last advice is that you have to love dancing and I cannot stress that enough. If you do not whole heartedly love this career then it’s not for you because there is so much disappointment and challenges that can happen that you have to be strong and know that everything is for a reason and you love this career.
Dance Mogul: How could Dance Mogul Magazine better serve the dance community?
Jonathan Bryant: Dance Mogul Magazine could better help the community by inspiring and helping to take dance to a new level. I also think this interview is a great way by letting dancers and choreographers share their experiences and insight on the industry and being real.
Dance Mogul: Do you want to thank anyone for helping you on your journey?
Jonathan Bryant: I would like to thank God first for blessing me with this talent and being able to use it as a way of living because I love dancing with all my heart and I know that God has a plan for me. I would like to thank my dad, mom and sister for always supporting me in this career mentally and financially lol. Without my fam I literally would be nothing and would not of been able to do a lot of things that I have done. Also, my first dance family who I consider a part of my real family: Saidah Nairobi and Chi Chi Randolph. I love you two like my big sisters and I want to thank you for all of the advice, laughs, dance sessions and just being there for me and appreciate you more than you know.