How a small city dancer made the bold decision to secure a career doing what he enjoys most . . . . Without knowing what to expect.

A month after graduating with a B.A. in criminal justice and a minor in political science, the newly recruited commissioned officer in the Army National Guard packed his bags and made a one-way trip to New York City, with a vision. For the aspiring dancer, who had never been so far away from home on his own at the time making the move was a last-minute decision. “I remember specifically speaking to one of my friends on the phone. I told him I wanted to pursue dance, and he said, “Why not move to NYC?”” D-Ran recalls his heart immediately pounding.

“NEW YORK??? It’s so far away!”

It would be a first because he’d never been so far from home. On. His. Own. Even after arriving in the city, D-Ran’s dreams of dance would have to be put on hold because he needed to secure a source of income before investing in the first step towards his career, taking professional dance classes. He had no idea what to expect, but he was passionate about his purpose.

Although D-Ran has pursued dance for ten years, he’s only been dancing professionally for about four years, with some of his latest projects consisting of modeling for several brands and working with artists such as Madonna, Cirque Du Soleil, Nike, Puma, and the queen Bey herself in Formation.

Balancing between his responsibilities of serving in the military and building his career wasn’t easy. There were time constraints that did not permit D-Ran to go on tour, so he chose to focus on the dance and modeling opportunities he could do. D-Ran now resides in Los Angeles and is signed to Clear Talent Group represented in both New York and Los Angeles, pursuing his dreams full-time. UA Magazine reached out to the young, rising star to learn about his journey.

“I solely believe everything starts with mentality,” D-Ran states, crediting his mentors who’ve helped cultivate the right mindset for his career. “The right mindset involves having a solid plan, knowing that this takes time, and consistently training.” D-Ran points out that it’s important to research on how others have become successful and what obstacles they may have had to overcome versus expecting instant gratification, which happens to fit right in with UA Magazine’s priorities of sharing how ordinary individuals are becoming extraordinary.

D-Ran’s is also motivated by the possibility that he can, in turn, motivate and inspire others. For him, “inspiration is infinite” and he draws a lot of it from a pretty great source. Kids. “A major source comes from . . . The fact that they just don’t care. I feel we lose touch of our “inner kid” and become so serious that we forget to play!” His pursuit of dance comes from the simple joy of expressing himself through a series of movement, and his advise to other aspiring dancers is to not compare yourself to the journey of others, because everyone has their own.

We have all watched videos or live performances of phenomenal dancers. D-Ran isn’t even sure of the number of hours he dedicates to his craft on a given day, but one thing is for sure. “I breathe, eat, and sleep dance, so every second of the day is catered towards my craft. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about dance. A typical day for me consists of waking up, giving gratitude, focusing on my vision board and then either taking dance classes or doing some type of event that helps me grow within the business or as an individual . . . A vision board keeps me focused on my goals . . . Helps you visualize your goal(s).”

D-Ran is currently excited about working with renowned choreographer Tricia Miranda, whose portfolio also consists of collaborating with several celebrities. While he can’t share any of the details he says, “. . . it’s going to be awesome!”

Be sure to keep up with this rising star via Instagram at DRan.Neal or check out his cool site at http://www.DRanNeal.com to see all of his great accomplishments.


  1. Ask or Command it. Speak it into existence and write it down.
  2. Believe that it’s already yours
  3. Receive it (feel how it will be once you have received it)

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