Miss Bryan Leigh Smith, aka b-RyaN
You may know her from Dancing Stars of Coastal Georgia — but most know her as b-RyaN.
It all started on her front yard in Savannah, Georgia. Twelve-year-old Bryan Leigh Smith would choreograph and perform her own dance routines for anyone who would watch. Now she’s moved west to the bright stage of Los Angeles for her dancing career — carrying her Southern roots with her along the way.
Bryan cheered for both Calvary and Cheer Savannah. She would often get in trouble for “inappropriate” dances. “There was a lot of hip-shaking,” Bryan said. “Teachers would say ‘You girls look like strippers.’ It hurt me and knocked me down, but it also built a fire.”
She graduated from Savannah Arts and went on to Georgia Southern for a bachelor’s in Marketing. Bryan coached for Cheer Savannah for a few years, but decided to make the jump to L.A. in 2009 to study acting. “I bartended seven days a week to save,” she said. “But once I got here it was even harder. I blew through my money in the first three months. There was a lot of pressure, a lot of pull, to come back.”
Bryan soon realized that she was more interested in learning how to write songs than go to acting class, so she went to the Songwriting School of Los Angeles — but the truth is that she only wanted to write songs so that she could dance to them. She began performing as b-RyaN around clubs, and in 2012 made a mix tape called “Dance How I Want To.” “I was driving down Sunset listening to the song,” she said. “It’s this thing I was so suppressed about — so judged on. I just laughed. People shouldn’t just dance how they want to — it’s about expressing yourself, in how you dress, in everything.”
Now, Bryan performs as b-RyaN — she was cast in LMFAO’s “I’m Sexy and I Know It” music video, as well as Rihanna’s “Diamond.” She teaches her custom dance classes in both L.A. and Savannah called Dance How I Want To — for adults as well as kids. In 2017, Bryan danced with Chris Cook, aka the Imprincenator, in Dancing Stars of Coastal Georgia, which benefitted the Savannah CASA.