How Brennan Clost Transitioned From Juilliard Dance to Netflix’s ‘Tiny Pretty Things’

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Described as “Bunheads” and “Center Stage” meet “Pretty Little Liars,” Netflix’s devious new drama “Tiny Pretty Things” follows dancers who will shed any amount of blood, sweat, and tears—though not necessarily their own—to get ahead at their prestigious ballet school. Ahead of its Dec. 14 premiere, Brennan Clost, who plays Shane, spoke with Backstage about his own career (which is, luckily, a much less vicious one). Though the Juilliard-trained dancer, actor, and budding producer has the dedication and work ethic to rival the show’s ballet students, he differs in a crucial way: He believes in embracing imperfection.

Being a double threat was essential to Clost’s success in the role.
“This [audition] tape that I sent in was close to 15 minutes; they had us prepare and learn an entire ballet class, plus improvising solos and a dance reel if you had one, and then 10 pages of sides. So they were really looking for people who could do both, that they didn’t have to dance-double for the series…. They really were looking for—the producers called us ‘unicorns.’ The lead cast [members are] these people that had reached a height in their dance career, but then across the board, within the last five years, have really shifted from high-level professional dance into acting.”

With “Tiny Pretty Things,” he’s landed his dream role.
“I was chatting with friends that were outside the show, catching up with them when we were, I think, three months into filming, just telling them about the experience. And they were like, ‘You sound like you’re exactly where you’re meant to be.’ And I was like, ‘You’re right.’ I’ve never felt that feeling before of just being exactly right where I’m supposed to be.”

He’s used his time during the pandemic to launch popular web series “Australianaire$.”
“It really, honestly, started as a joke, and then the first episode did really well, so then we structured it a little bit more. The first episode was very improv-based, and it just stemmed from this outrageous premise. And then some of the executives that worked on ‘Tiny Pretty Things’ ended up watching it and are now getting behind it. And so now we’re properly developing it—putting together scripts [and a] pitch package.” 

He hopes to continue creating his own content.
“I’m really enjoying producing my own work right now. Actually, earlier today, I optioned the rights to a book that I’d read years ago, and so I think the next big accomplishment for myself: I want to get that book made into [a] feature film. It’s this teenage spy LGBT story, and I would love to act in it as well.”

Not everything you do in your career has to be perfect.
“I still do, and I used to more so, get really in my head about being inexperienced and behind everyone else. But what I realized is that some people have pursued technical, classical training and acting, and some others just have an affinity and a sense for it. And really, with acting, there is no blueprint. Whatever your journey to it is, it is going to be different than other people’s. And so I think [it’s just about] trusting in yourself, trusting in your instincts—because that really is what acting class gets you back to. It gets you out of your head and back to your instincts. So just messing around and trusting yourself. And,—we talked about this at Juilliard a lot—just choreograph a bad dance. Don’t get in your head about making the perfect dance. Just choreograph a bunch of bad ones, because you’re not going to learn otherwise. And the more experience, the more you learn, the more you know what works. It’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall; one might stick and be this incredible experience. And I feel that way with acting as well. If you don’t look back at yourself in five years embarrassed about what you put out then, then I don’t think you’re growing.”

Want to hear more from Clost? Watch our full interview above, and follow us on Instagram: @backstagecast.

This story originally appeared in the Nov. 26 issue of Backstage Magazine. Subscribe here.

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