How did you start dancing?
I was actually in show choir in high school. But I didn’t start training until I was 20 years old. That’s when I officially started training.
How old are you now?
Some people would say that that’s a short amount of time that you’ve danced for, since a lot of people start when they’re three years old. What made you decide to pursue it when you were 20?
My first professional job was Bugs Bunny at Six Flags St. Louis at 19. I had to do some dance moves in a furry costume. A lot of my friends went from Six Flags went to Lindenwood University, which is the school that I ended up going to and graduating from. I fell in love with the art and the city during my time there.
What made you move to St. Louis in the first place?
Some of my friends were all going to audition at Six Flags, and I just jumped in the car with them. I ended up getting a last minute job there, and had to move a couple of months later. I got an apartment St. Louis with some friends from school. Plus I was used to being out of the house, so it was a relatively easy transition.
What was it like to start dancing a bit later than most people?
It was hard. Just because I had a gymnast background, people would think that everything must be easy for me to pick up. But it wasn’t. I wasn’t flexible. I wasn’t anything. When I started dancing, I really wanted to make sure that if I was going to do it, I would really commit myself to it. So, I stretched for 2 hours every night for 2 months straight just trying to get flexibility. I would be in the studio alone at 11pm, not knowing how to dance, but knowing it was something that I wanted to do. It was really about the dedication and the amount of time that I put into it—now it’s all worth it.
What are you up to now?
I am currently a swing at Hamilton on Broadway. And dancing outside of the show. Trying to stay as busy as possible even though I have the show every night and sometimes rehearsals during the day. I like to dabble in some other things too—acting, singing, writing music.
Last year I toured with the National Tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Andy Blankenbuehler choreographed that. He’s also the choreographer for Hamilton.
How did you make your Broadway debut?
Essentially, I just auditioned for the show, and I think because I had worked with him before, we were familiar each other. But who’s to say why you actually get anything—maybe it’s being in the right place at the right time, maybe it’s the luck, maybe it’s the dedication, it could be anything really. You never know what they’re looking for.
How did you feel when you first got the call?
I didn’t know it was going to happen. My agents had kind of alerted me that something was up, but I didn’t know what was actually up.
I was waiting tables one day at like 5:00 pm, and I had a number flash on my phone, and it was a New York number. I was wondering what this call could be for since I rarely get calls from New York. I answered it, and my agent said, “Brandon, you start rehearsals tomorrow for Hamilton.” That was like 14 hours away. I was waiting my tables, and I literally ran to the bathroom, collapsed against the wall, and cried. Called my family, in tears. Came out, and then quit my job.
Everything about people saying Broadway’s calling—I didn’t think it was actually a thing. And then it was a thing. I freaked out. You do so much, and you work so hard for something that you think you’re never going to be able to achieve. It’s such a distant thought. But when it actually happens, you can’t believe it. I’ve performed the show now, and I still can’t believe it. Being on the stage is the weirdest thing. Every time I perform, and during the bows, I always go back to the moment where I was sitting against the wall with tears of joy.
What are your aspirations?
I want to be an artist of many talents. I don’t want to ever be seen as just an artist who can just dance or just sing or just do this or do that. I think that if you’re going to be an artist, you should explore. You should try new things and try everything as much as you can. That’s what we’re on this earth for. Earth without art is just “eh” [laughs]. I want to try more things. I want to get into more acting, more writing again and hopefully use more than just bad experiences to write [laughs]. Just try everything. I want to be able to look back when I am 40 and say that I did all that I could as opposed to saying I could’ve done more.
How long have you been in the city?
I have been here on and off for three-something years. I flew here for my first audition in 2011. I was back and forth for a while, and then I moved here in May of 2013 after I graduated. I left for tour 8 months later, and then came back last April. It’s been only about a year and a half, but hey, who’s counting?
What’s your favorite part about the city?
The fact that you are allowed to be yourself. That you’re allowed to love what you love. You can really become your own person. I think that there is no other city in the world like New York City. I think the city has a really good way of picking you up and kicking you in the butt to tell you that you’ve got to figure it out in order to survive.
What’s your favorite part about dancing?
It makes me the most happy. I think of dance as something more than just an art form. Dance has essentially saved my life—I had no idea where I was going. I feel like I owe it to dance to do everything that I can. It’s the one thing that I can always rely on. I can always go to it and it’s never going to turn its back. It’s not going to judge me for how I move. It’s the most forgiving. It’s just beautiful. The biggest hope of mine is to show people that it’s something that I love. So many people dance nowadays solely to get places. “Look at me, I can kick my face.” That’s not what it’s about. That’s what I want to show people. If you love something enough and it loves you back, anything is possible. That’s why I love dance. I think it loves me too. We haven’t broken up yet [laughs].
What would be your number one advice?
Never give up. It’s cliche, but the moment you give up is the moment you stop having hope and stop having faith in yourself. Never give up and push yourself to every limit and every extreme even if you think you can’t. You have to fight for it.
I am not going to go personal, solely because I think that we all have experiences that shape us. Even though they’re tough, they’re supposed to happen. I think if they didn’t happen, you wouldn’t be the person that you are. I am thankful for every experience I’ve had. I wouldn’t be in New York City if I didn’t go through what I went through. I’m thankful that I’ve had people in my life show me something that’s so beautiful. I am thankful that I had beautiful dancers in my life that I’ve been able to look up to and now work with. I am thankful that this is something that cannot only change a person’s life, but people's lives.
Is there any last thing you want to share with the world?
We all want to leave a mark of some sorts. You have to decide what mark you’re going to leave. It can be small; it can be large. Don’t get started this industry for the fame because you ain’t going to get it [laughs]. Start this because you love it. Be in a relationship with someone because you love them. Go to work 9-5 because you love it. Lead your life with love and all else will fall in place.