Reet Roy was born in West Bengal India and moved to Mississauga in 2008. At a very young age Roy discovered his passion for dance, specifically the style of hip-hop. Roy danced frequently and often competed in dance shows throughout his high school career.
Upon entering Brock, Roy was faced with a massive transition in his focus from pursuing his passion in hip-hop through competitions to engaging heavily with his Business Administration program. Roy was unable to fit hip-hop into his busy class schedule and so he stopped dancing in order to concentrate on school.
However, in his second year, Roy found new motivation and decided to reinvigorate his love for hip-hop by forming Live for Dance, a student club which organizes drop in classes and provides opportunities for students to compete in hip-hop competitions. The club still runs to this day and has over 300 people involved with it.
“I wanted to share my knowledge so Brock gets an idea of hip-hop. People perceive it as violent because of its affiliation with the artists who make the music, but it’s an art form. I wanted to make sure the background and history was known for the people who were doing it rather than them just doing moves,” said Roy.
Live for Dance was the first university club in Ontario to compete in the World of Dance Hip-hop Competition in Montreal. At the team’s first outing they were short listed to the top tenth spot and placed sixth overall. Live for Dance remains a very significant part of the Brock community and the club continues to compete in all major competitions across Ontario.
Through the creation and subsequent participation with Live for Dance, Roy learned one of the most valuable lessons that he received during his time at Brock. Roy saw the joy and sense of accomplishment which came with striking a balance between your passion and career.
“I wanted to infuse education [with a non-academic pursuit] and show that people in university who always study can do something other than studying. By day we were students but by night we were like stomp the yard,” he commented.
Tauri Caputo, a marketing professor at Brock inspired Roy to start his own business and Sohail Ahmed, Roy’s best friend at Brock, gave him the idea to make a career out of his passion. Roy went on his first tour with Urban Dance Tour and Chachi Gonzales, winner from America’s Best Dance Crew in order to gain insight into the business side of the dance world. When he returned, Roy sat down and mapped out a tentative business model.
Roy created Rhythm to Dance, a dance company which now boasts 26 studios in 13 cities across Canada. Rhythm to Dance teaches sold out classes and Roy was nominated in 2011 as youth entrepreneur of Canada.
“The age that we live in is the best time for entrepreneurs. If you have a dream you can make it happen. People told me I couldn’t make any money out of dance. If you have a passion follow your heart. The moment you doubt yourself, you doubt the whole process,” said Roy.
Despite the great success Rhythm to Dance experiences today, Roy struggled greatly in the company’s infancy. Roy never took out a loan so it was hard to find the needed capital in the beginning stages of the business. He worked multiple side jobs in order to rent time in a studio to teach his classes. Class attendance was another issue at the beginning. Roy often only had one to three students for months at a time.
“It comes back to the fact that the struggle made me so strong. Friends would tell me to quit but I would just try to imagine the room being completely full,” said Roy.
Now, Roy has been invited to teach hip-hop workshops across Canada and the world, in countries like the USA, China, India, Germany, and Australia. Roy hopes to expand his company on an even greater scale, growing his company into different countries.
Besides teaching people how to dance, Roy also aims to educate people about the history of hip-hop as an art form. There is a dominant stereotype that hip-hop artists do drugs or are associated with gangs. As a result, hip hop is considered a lesser style and even, not a real dance by some.
As a Brock alumnus, Roy credits Brock University as the place where his success started.
“My best time in my life was at Brock. No matter where I go in the world, I always talk about Brock. This is where everything started for me.”
For more information about Live for Dance, visit rhythm2dance.com
Assistant Campus News Editor