Dancers' Paradise: Shady Squad's Rey sharing his dancing knowledge
For the past 13 years, Shady Squad has been dominating the choreographed dance scene.
Comprised of brothers Matthew and Conray Richards, this multifaceted dance crew has been in the game since 2005, the year they began winning and placing in competitions that paved the way for a sustained and still-developing career.
"Officially, Shady Squad started in 2005 when we won the Jiggy Time Competition held after Bogle passed in honour of him. That was what created my group," Conray, also known as Rey, told The WEEKEND STAR.
After winning, the brothers finished second in the first season of Dancing Dynamites.
Shady Squad has also entered the World Reggae Dance Championships. They were the first crew to achieve consecutive wins in 2010 and 2011.
"Since then, we've gone on to win five Youth View Awards back to back," Conray said.
Shady Squad boasts performances on many local stages, including Reggae Sumfest and Sting, and an impressive list of former clients.
"We've performed for Shaggy, Rihanna, Drake, Beenie Man ... everybody. Personally, I also choreograph. I've worked with Tarrus Riley for Good Girl Gone Bad," he said.
Conray spends his time teaching dance in different forms.
"I teach at schools, dance fitness in gyms, and we still take bookings for live shows and music videos. We've been working with companies, organising promotions and teaching workshops both locally and internationally. I've travelled to Belgium, Spain, Czech Republic, London, Poland ... a lot that I can't remember. That's what encompasses my dance career," he shared.
Conray is a technically trained dancer and has been making a living doing that.
"It was natural, not specifically dance, it's just that I've always been a performer. Also, I go with the opportunities. The more professional you are, the more jobs come, and that makes room for your talent that's how we've grown and maintained our career over these years," he said.
He was a student of the Edna Manley College at the Visual and Performing Arts School of Music, where he earned a degree in music and performance and took some technical dance classes.
He was also part of the ProMoves Dance Company for several years. Though dance has been Conray's bread and butter for many years, he is putting his degree to the test.
"I've been working on music, exploring music in dancehall and reggae," he said.
So far, Shady Squad has released Bunx and Galang (2016), featuring Bay-C. This year, they are gearing up for the release of the single Yardie Bounce with the same artiste.
"I'm working on getting another entertainer on it, probably Boom Boom," he said.