We had the good fortune of connecting with Sonali Patel and Anisha Gupta and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sonali & Anisha, what do you attribute your success to?
We started off wanting to share our love for Bollywood dance with the Houston community and it just sort of spread! People were really interested in dancing and learning with us and this just fueled our excitement to choreograph, teach, and dance even more.
We opened our business during the COVID-19 pandemic because we truly believed that people needed a sense of community at this time more than ever and we wanted to provide an outlet for people to have a sense of community and stay happy and healthy during these stressful times. Transitioning to Zoom classes made it possible to offer our classes nationwide and, even worldwide!
It was also important for us to support those in need on a larger scale as well so we decided to make it a T2 mission to donate proceeds to a different charity every month.
Despite having busy schedules as full time practicing physicians, we love making time to exercise, express our culture and share this passion for dance with others every week while we #danceforacause as a T2 Community!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Some of the most important factors behind our success stemmed from our desire to make sure our dancers have a positive experience. We pride ourselves on forming a sense of community by having a judgement-free atmosphere where we encourage inclusivity, creativity and individual expression. It is important to us to not limit our company’s outreach to just the Indian community and are proud to say that we have several frequent flyer dancers who come to almost 100% of our classes who are not of Indian origin!
Most importantly, we like to promote self-growth for our students so that they leave our classes feeling empowered and with a smile on their faces. Our dancers loved the concept of our classes and asked for more so we quickly expanded; in addition to adult zoom classes, we started doing kids zoom classes as well as choreographing first dances and performances for weddings and special events.
Another key pillar of our mission is the ability to reach out to those in need. We are really driven by this concept to #danceforacause. With the support of our T2 Dance family, we are proud to have donated over $5000 to various charities in the past 10 months alone supporting causes for major issues going on in the world around us, such as COVID-19, the California fires, Black Lives Matter, hurricane relief and also in support of kids in need; after all, they are our future!
Opening a business at the very start of a pandemic definitely was a risk! Before meeting each other, we were both struggling to find a happy place to express our love for Bollywood dance so waiting a year or longer to get started also did not seem ideal. We do believe that with great risk comes great reward and that with taking risks, you learn, you grow and you give yourself the opportunity for something great. Taking the risk and starting T2 Dance Company has truly been one of the most rewarding experiences for us.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would have so much to explore if our friends were visiting! First and foremost, no visit to Houston is complete without great Tex Mex! We’d definitely have to get in a taco/queso/margarita tour at some of our favorite spots including Torchy’s, Blanco, Velvet Taco, and Chuy’s!
We’d definitely try to fit in some other great restaurants including Musaafer, Sixty Vines, and Uchi as well as some lounges with a lively ambience including Present Company, Secret Garden, 77 Degrees, and Buffalo Bayou Brewing company.
There are so many great outdoor activities to explore in Houston! We love the variety of events that the parks such as Discovery Green, Levy Park, and Hermann Park offer including the outdoor fitness classes, markets, outdoor concert series and more. We’d also love to show them how artsy Houston is and would have to show them some of the art along the Buffalo Bayou trails as well as the amazing wall murals in Houston.
Of course there is so much more to explore, but these would be some of our highlights!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We’d like to dedicate our shoutout to our families for their love and support! We’re thankful that they’ve instilled this love for Indian culture and Bollywood dance in us and that they have raised us to truly value self-expression, inclusivity, empowerment and philanthropy!
Image Credit: StevenTraylorImages