Rylei “The Ghost” Brown, a student at Texas A&M University-Central Texas, exemplifies the phrase “It’s never too late to start something new”. It is a testament to how the style of breakdance coincides with his path to a higher education.
At right: Brown posing a freeze in front of Founders Hall at Texas A&M University-Central Texas.
Brown began dancing in the eighth grade but did not begin breakdancing until the age of 20. He credits his interest to seeing street dancing in films such as “You Got Served”, which made him want to begin the style of waving, which progressed to tutting, krumping, then, ultimately, breaking.
At right: Brown posing a freeze at ElectrikCITY Dance Movement.
Brown has always dreamt of being a professional dancer, but faces the harsh reality that it takes time before it can become a reliable way to survive. He desires to have a family and life, so for now teaching beginner breakdancing and Hip-Hop foundations helps fund his dream of becoming a teacher and allows him to incorporate dance within a teaching career.
At right: Brown sits on a bench in front of Texas A&M University-Central Texas.
Gaining knowledge of different styles has allowed an exploration of new cultures, a better understanding of empathy and views on world issues, while allowing Brown to form new friendships. It pushes the limits on how far he can push himself while combating stereotypes surrounding the culture, one of which is that boys and girls should remain in certain styles.
At right: Brown instructing students in his breaking class at ElectrikCITY Dance Movement.
That push translated to Brown pursuing his degree as a nontraditional student. He began college at the age of 25, attending Austin Community College and in Fall 2022 he began taking online classes at A&M-Central Texas to complete his B.S. Education degree with Early Childhood-6th Grade Generalist Certification.
At right: Brown observes his students as they take turns practicing the concepts he taught.
His rigorous routine consists of leaving Round Rock early in the morning to attend class at A&M-Central Texas, student teach at a local middle school, and then drives back to Austin to teach evening breakdance classes. He does this twice a week to ensure he gains real-world experience in an actual classroom.
At right: Brown leads his students into different breakdance moves.
He credits the affordability and ease of transition as his reasons for transferring to A&M-Central Texas and, like breaking, he’s up for the challenge to see how far he can take his education. Brown is expected to graduate in Spring 2024.
At right: Brown initiates his “cone game” that he uses to challenge his students to breakdance in a tight space.