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The show is Feb. 2 at SWOSU’s Fine Arts Center, 103 W. Davis Road, in Weatherford.

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The campus of Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) is being invaded. The aerial assault will come from one of the most unique and entertaining groups touring the country today.

FLY Dance Company is set to entertain students and the public Feb. 2 at SWOSU’s Fine Arts Center, 103 W. Davis Road, in Weatherford. Executive director Jorge Casco said those who have never seen the “Gentlemen of Hip-Hop,” are in for a treat.

“FLY is an all-male contemporary dance company who have blended street dance with classic choreographic principles since the 1990s,” Casco said. “We use a wide variety of music, including a lot of classical, clever staging, acting skills, costuming and comedy, and mix it with the hip-hop dancers’ raw movement.”

According to Casco, the best way to describe FLY Dance Company is “theatrical hip-hop.” The performances combine different elements to form an all-out celebration of performance art.

“Expect the unexpected,” Casco said. “With all the variety, you will leave with a whole new perspective on hip-hop and the performing arts world. But if we had to sum it up, FLY Dance Company’s concerts are a unique combination of entertainment and art — a high-energy, nonstop mix of hip-hop, classical and modern dance with an added touch of vaudeville.”

The origins of FLY Dance Company are in the streets of Houston. It has grown into the multifaceted performance troupe.

“Our founder and artistic director Kathy Wood encountered a crew of street dancers at a Houston street festival and immediately visualized how, with their skills and her choreography, she could create an act to appeal to performing arts audiences,” Casco said. “The process leading to what would become FLY Dance Company started in 1993, with Fly being established in 1995.”

According to the dance company’s website, Wood’s plan included using different musical styles and a mix of ensemble and solo dancing to do the unexpected and create something “powerful, funky, graceful and sometimes bordering on the impossible.”

The initial FLY Dance Company toured from 1995 until 2006 when Wood had to shut down the company due to physical exhaustion. But in 2012, she gave her blessing to original members Casco, Chris Cortez, Don Lee Rivera and Adam Quiroz to restart the company. Wood later rejoined as artistic director.

Besides entertaining fans, the dance company wants to be role models for up-and-coming young men who are looking for ways to direct their lives instead of being on the streets. That is where the nickname Gentlemen of Hip-Hop comes from.

“First, it means FLY members are professional, reliable and easy to work with,” Casco said. “For us, it’s about knocking down stereotypes and barriers people might place on you. Hip-hop usually gets a bad rep, but as The Gentlemen of Hip-Hop, we can present our culture and movement in a fresh, exciting way that is suitable for all ages from 1 to 100.”

The show at SWOSU is 7:30-9:30 p.m. Feb. 2. Advance tickets are $5 for students and $10 for the general public. Tickets purchased at the door are $20. Call 580-774-3063.

“As artists, our mission is to leave people inspired to strive for what you believe in,” Casco said. “We’re living proof that hard work pays off.”

Visit flydancecompany.com.

Print headline: FLY fellows, The Gentlemen of Hip-Hop delivers a surprising mix of music and dance to Weatherford.

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