Ryan was born in Adelaide and began his dancing career with the Children's Ballet Company of South Australia. Ryan trained at Adelaide University before attaining a ballet scholarship to the McDonald College in Sydney. This College was under the direction of Allan Cross and Josephine Jason, who have not only been mentors to him, but also have become close friends. Maggie Sietsma, Artistic Director of Expressions Dance Company has also been an inspiration to Ryan. Ryan has danced with Opera Australia, South Australian Opera and Opera Queensland. He had the opportunity to work as the Assistant Director on Opera Australia's Gondoliers. He has danced with the One Extra Dance Company and on numerous projects with Garry Stewart, Lucy Guerin, Kim Walker, Csaba Buday and Peter Sheedy. Ryan has also worked in the commercial sphere for stage and television alongside such names as Jason Coleman and Rhonda Birchmore. His career highlight for 2000 was performing with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in Baz Luhrmann's feature film, Moulin Rouge. Ryan joined Tasdance in 2001 for Treasured Island, where he performed works by Graeme Murphy, Chrissie Parrott and Natalie Weir.