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Meet Rebecca Troyak of ACT- Artists Come Together

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Troyak.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Rebecca. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was originally born in Ontario, Canada. I started dance there at the age of two and then moved to Texas where I attended Performing Arts High School at Booker T. Washington HSPVA. Here, I was named a YoungArts Finalist and Winner in Modern dance and Choreography, and a semi-finalist for Presidential Scholar in the Arts. This is when I knew I wanted to take dance to a professional level and to further my studies in College.

I first attended the Fordham/Ailey School for one year before I transferred to become a member of the inaugural class at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Here, I had the privilege of dancing with the legendary William Forsythe, dancing with the Martha Graham company, dancing with Hubbard Street 2, dancing at the Joyce Theater, and even dancing internationally in Tokyo. It was so incredible to be part of the new movement, the start of something new and innovative, and to pave the way for other dancers to follow.

At school, I had the privilege of attending so many incredible summer intensives that helped shape my training as a dancer including Nederlands Dans Theatre, SpringBoard Dance Montreal, Jacobs Pillow, Batsheva, Hubbard Street, and more. I was also given the opportunity in college to choreograph on a professional dance company, Dallas Black Dance Theater, at only 20 years old. Eventually, I wanted to explore not only the concert side of dance but also the commercial side. I went on to compete in Season 15 of So You Think You Can Dance, signing with an Agency, and dancing on Jimmy Kimmel Live. I really wanted to make it my mission to show other young dancers that you can be a dancer and work in every avenue of dance. I wanted to bridge the gap between the commercial and concert dance world, that is sometimes very divided.

I went on to graduate in the first ever graduating class at USC Kaufman, it was a huge monumental moment that I will forever remember. Upon graduation, I booked a job working for Tyra Banks, choreographing, dancing, and performing in her newest creation and immersive show, Modelland. It was simply a dream come true. I again was part of something new, part of shaping something new, and I loved it more than anything. Tyra was simply wonderful to work for and it was incredible to work at a job where I was 100% myself. We had so much freedom in designing these characters and I got to explore acting, modeling, and choreographing in addition to dancing and performing. It was a time when I felt I got to be a true artist in every aspect of the word. I was so proud and inspired everyday I worked there and felt it was the one place where I truly was setting out to do what I intended, bridging the gap of all art forms, all kinds of dance, and building this truly incredible show. It was unlike anything out there. We were set to open on May 1st, 2020. Unfortunately, Corona Virus hit and delayed the opening of the show until further notice.

I was absolutely crushed and devastated when Modelland decided to postpone its opening. However, instead of feeling down and uninspired. I used this time to create. With my best friend, Justin Pham, we created our own business. We wanted to inspire other dancers and give them hope during this extremely uncertain time. Therefore, we titled our company Artists Come Together (ACT), to truly show our mission and goal just in our name. We wanted to give young dancers a platform, a place to be inspired, to find joy, and to find hope and meaning through quarantine. To still give them access and information, despite our new circumstances. We created our first event, The Solo Showdown, a solo showcase competition, where each student performed and received one on one coaching from some of the best dancers in the business. It was really amazing for us because it allowed us to connect with students from across the event nation and allowed us to connect with other dancers that inspire us across the nation. Our second event we created was called The College Workshop. We created an entire weekend workshop connecting students to college directors, college faculty, and alumni. We designed a program to give them every tool associated with college admissions for dance, every chance to network and get in front of directors, and a place to ask questions. We are so proud of ACT, so proud to inspire these kids, and we cannot wait to develop more programs and continue building.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The biggest struggle in this past year has been Corona Virus. It is such a hard time for all dancers and artists. We are living in a world of quarantine, distance, which is beyond important for the safety of everyone on this planet. Dance is a form of art that is so hands on, so intimate, so personal, so it has become extremely hard for dancers everywhere to continue honing their craft when we have to and need to practice social distancing and stay safe. From Broadway to Cirque du Soleil, dance and dancers have been affected everywhere.

My dream job that I have been so lucky to get is postponed until further notice, and we just don’t know how long that will be. It is such a struggle to live in uncertainty with dance when there is so much training involved, and so few jobs out there.

For me, Modelland was the place where I finally felt like I found who I was, where I found home. It was everything to me. We had so much freedom in designing these characters and I got to explore acting, modeling, and choreographing in addition to dancing and performing. It was a time when I felt I got to be a true artist in every aspect of the word. I was so proud and inspired everyday I worked there and felt it was the one place where I truly was setting out to do what I intended, bridging the gap of all art forms, all kinds of dance, and building this truly incredible show. It was unlike anything out there.

As I am sure many other dancers are experiencing, we are redefining what it means to be a dancer, what is means to pursue your craft in these uncertain times. I allowed this struggle of uncertainty inspire me rather than get me down. It allowed me to be more creative rather and develop this wonderful business, Artists Come Together, with my best friend Justin Pham where our entire mission is to give hope to dancers, provide inspiration, knowledge, training, and a platform to shine. I have spent over 22 years in the dance world now, and instead of letting it get me down that I cannot perform right now, I am eager, excited, thrilled, and so lucky to be someone that can be a leader and give dancers a platform! We cannot wait for all the amazing programs we get to create for students across the nation.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about ACT- Artists Come Together – what should we know?
I have created a business with my partner and best friend Justin Pham entitled Artists Come Together (ACT). Act is a boutique production company with a mission to bring artists together from all facets of life to promote network opportunities, build relationships, and celebrate art. We wanted to inspire them in these uncertain times and give them access to resources, knowledge, and networks that would further enhance and develop their training. Therefore, we titled our company Artists Come Together (ACT), to truly show our mission and goal just in our name. We wanted to give young dancers a platform, a place to be inspired, to find joy, and to find hope and meaning through quarantine. To still give them access and information, despite our new circumstances.

We created our first event, The Solo Showdown, a solo showcase competition, where each student performed and received one on one coaching from some of the best dancers in the business. It was really amazing for us because it allowed us to connect with students from across the event nation and allowed us to connect with other dancers that inspire us across the nation. Our second event we created was called The College Workshop. We created an entire weekend workshop connecting students to college directors, college faculty, and alumni. We designed a program to give them every tool associated with college admissions for dance, every chance to network and get in front of directors, and a place to ask questions. We have over ten states represented in this event. It means so much to us because it shows that we truly can make a difference in quarantine. We wouldn’t have the access to reach this many people without technology, without these times, and we feel so lucky to get to watch students flourish and give them every tool they need to succeed and more.

What sets us apart is how many different avenues ACT crosses into. Justin and I both come from extensive dance training, however we both have seen the importance of bridging the gap between all avenues of the dance world, from commercial to concert, to broadway. We have even dabbled in all different areas of dance. Our network and expertise cross all of these lines and we are excited that our company will be able to provide all different kinds of events, experts, connections and more. We truly can reach dancers globally and inspire kids that not only can you have a career in dance, you can have several different avenues and paths. Our events have and will continue to reflect that.

As a company, we are even working on building programs within studios, specifically designing what is needed for kids now, we cannot wait to continue this. What makes me feel most proud about ACT is hearing from parents and students that they have been inspired, that they have seen a change in their dancing, that there are hopeful and happy and have reignited their love of dance. It makes it all worth it. Justin and I also teach dance and technique classes regularly and we hope to share our knowledge with as many students as we can.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I feel that my unwavering handwork is the reason I am here today. I have worked non stop to pursue dance because it is what I love more than anything in the world. It is my passion. I wanted to earn every bit of my career and I worked tirelessly everyday to set goals, research, train, and do whatever it was possible to make it happen. I am so lucky to have the most supportive parents in my life who have done everything to make my dreams possible for me. My mother is one of the most gracious, kind-hearted individuals in the world and she inspires me everyday to be better. I am extremely positive, bubbly and kind and I think that being humble and passionate is one of the most important things to be successful. It is also important to remember that success is different for every single person and instead of getting in comparisons, I have always strived to grow with others, build others up, and use each other’s strengths together. I am so lucky and fortunate for everything in my life, and so lucky for the community and the support system around me that allows me to be who and what I am.

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Image Credit:
Justin Pham, Alex Cole

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