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Hidden Gems: Meet Rajat Rocky Batta of RRB Dance Company

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rajat Rocky Batta.

Hi Rajat Rocky, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Tosha Patel (Co-founder and co-director) and I (Rajat Rocky Batta) met on a dance reality tv show in 2013. Both of us shared the same passion for dance. Tosha, who grew up in New York, and myself who grew up in Southern California both had very limited options when it came to a professional platform to be able to learn Bollywood dance. We felt under-represented being Indian Dancers trying to find opportunities to train, grow, and learn. So four years ago, we decided to change that and embark on a journey to create that platform for the future generation. Our company exploded and grew rapidly into SoCal, Bay Area, Chicago, and even Toronto, Canada.

That’s when we realized there are thousands of Indian Americans that felt the same exact way as us. That’s how the idea and thought process of RRB Studios was born. We wanted to actually create a space that cultivated our culture and represented Bollywood Dance in its raw form. Grandeur. Bollywood is larger than life, everything about it is big, bold, and over the top.

We wanted to create a space that represents those core values. That’s how we designed the space. The mirrors are 10 feet tall, the floors stretch out over 5,000 square feet without breaks, the partition walls extend 15 feet in height, there are speakers in every room, and performance lighting equipped in every room to instantly be able to create any ambiance and/or mood!

RRB studios is a true cultural representation of Bollywood and what we love about it. This is our contribution to the community and the future generation to discover themselves through dance.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Not at all. This was the hardest challenge we have ever faced – and honestly we would have failed multiple times if it wasn’t for the support of my family and the entire community.

We faced several challenges with construction for RRB Studios. We had to tear everything down to its shell and just start over. Coming from no construction experience and no template/idea to rely on. We were involved in every single step of the entire process. From construction, engineering, framing, electrical, ACs, plumbing, to all the bells and whistles – sound, lighting, flooring and even sound-proofing the entire space… We had water pipes burst on us, we had to upgrade electrical panels, upgrade the ACs. We had to figure out how to get the 40 feet wide structural steel beams inside to install the hanging air walls. It took us two years to build this place, and it was all based on an idea. We had to literally trial and error this whole project to life. Before we started, I did not even know a single thing about construction, materials, anything before we started. Had to learn every single detail in order to create this space.

The second obstacle that we faced was COVID-19 shutdown. In March 2020, halfway through our construction, we had to shut down all 30 of our locations nationwide. That revenue was our bread and butter, and it was helping us pay for the construction itself. This was just gut-wrenching. We were halfway through building our dream and having to shut down construction, and not know if we could even finish what we started was really mentally tolling. We took the ethical route and paused all of our student’s memberships, and did not force distant learning classes. We wanted it to be a choice for all of our students and knew that doing so would put an end to our business, our studio, and end to our dreams. It was a really hard decision, but we pulled the plug on our company, and March 15th, 2020 we had no income source – with rent payments, salaries, and construction bills still on. This wasn’t something we could plan for and had to just pivot.

This is when the community, my family, and stroke of goodluck came our way. Our entire team of staff across the nation banded together and created a Virtual Learning program with a brand new curriculum, back-end systems, and all the technology/integrations behind it. With young kids all over nation quarantining at home, parents were desperate for quality programs taking initiative to continue educating the youth. Our program exploded, and we had students enroll all over the nation. It really was the saving grace that rejuvenated all of us, got us through the year, and put construction back on track! Last week we just did a soft opening and starting enrolling in person at limited capacity for the first time at RRB Studios. It really was a dream come true to be able to overcome and open in person. We all were ecstatic and extremely grateful to the community for supporting this dream and making it possible.

We’ve been impressed with RRB Dance Company, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Tosha Patel and Rajat Rocky Batta are the founders and directors of RRB Dance Company.

We are a Bollywood Dance Academy based out in Southern California, Bay Area, Chicago, and Toronto.

We offer Bollywood, BollyHop, Bhangra, Bharatnatyam, and Kathak Dance Classes for Ages 3+ to Adults.

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
People can join our in-person program at the studio or join our online program.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

RRB Dance Company AB Productions Gaurav’s Studios

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