Daybreaker Founder Radha Agrawal Pairs Dance With Entrepreneurship

March 18, 2022

In 2013, when she started Daybreaker—the community-building dance experience that now has over half a million people in 28 cities dancing at sunrise, substance-free—Radha Agrawal had already been responsible for several successful businesses, including co-founding Thinx underwear. The bestselling author, speaker, DJ and inventor has recently launched Daybreaker+—a platform focused on “practicing joy” via online classes in dance, yoga, breathwork, meditation and more—and is now collaborating with actor Matthew Morrison on MOD, an immersive museum of dance. Delayed by the pandemic, they are planning a six-week museum pop-up for this spring in New York City.

Radha Agrawal. Sasha Bianca, Courtesy Agrawal.

How Dance Builds Community:

“Dance really made me go from a state of ‘I don’t belong’ to ‘I belong.’ I found my partner—the father of my daughter—and my best friends on the dance floor.”

“With one in four Americans reporting that they don’t have a friend to confide in, loneliness is our biggest epidemic. Dance is one of the most playful social lubricants. I think those who come to our dance floor, where they can’t lean on drugs or alcohol, have to actually face themselves, rather than escape themselves.”

On Growing Daybreaker:

“As an entrepreneur, putting strong processes in place will take you to the next level. Attracting those talented key players who will help you succeed is hard when you’re disorganized. So, what I did with my original team was develop a 50-page playbook for how to build a Daybreaker anywhere in the world.”

Telling Dance’s Stories:

“For the museum of dance, we knew that we didn’t want this to be a ballet-slippers-behind-glass kind of static environment. The story of dance should be told in an energetic, movement-driven way. We partnered with Tessandra Chavez, Julianne Hough and an amazing group of dance aficionados to build the project. We’d already done two workshops with full choreography that was met with so much hype—then COVID happened. I’m excited to resurrect it.”

On Thinx:

“I absolutely had dancers in mind when I co-founded Thinx. When you’re on your period, moving—even from point A to point B, never mind dancing full-out—is difficult. So, I loved the idea of creating under­wear that gives you the freedom to move the way you want.”

Entrepreneurship and Dance:

“It’s interesting how many of my friends running businesses love and are connected to dance. I think it activates our neural pathways and leads to more innovation and creative projects.”

“So much of entrepreneurship is imbalanced, but I think female leadership can change that. In my business, I’m happy if our community grows 20 percent a year rather than 200 percent. Thoughtful growth leaves us equipped to manage something that can live forever.”

“I created the thing that I craved in my life, and it turned out 500,000 other people wanted it too. If you’re a dancer looking to start a business, look for a need you can fill where there is currently no competition.”

Editor’s note: Radha Agrawal’s MOD is not affiliated with MOD, Museum of Dance, a 501(c)(3) organization based in San Francisco, CA.