Kathy Musick Wood
Founder / Artistic Director
Awards and Endorsements
Director Kathy Wood received the Red Cross Everyday Hero Award for her work with at-risk youth. FLY has been endorsed by the City of Houston's Anti-Gang Task Force.
"Mrs. Wood was astounded when she saw an informal hip-hop group perform at a Houston street festival in 1993. She longed to blend their street smarts with her stage smarts. "I liked the way the guys worked -- rough, athletic, raw," she said. "But I thought, what a waste! They didn't have the necessary performing skills such as looking out and connecting with the audience, or counting the music. They didn't care where they started or stopped." She gathered the self-taught performers with the goal of creating a stage-ready troupe that could display both youthful versatility and clean-cut positivity."
- Houston Press
Every so often a company bursts onto the dance scene with such original talent and drive that a whole new genre is born. Such it was with the original FLY Dance Company. Within three seasons of touring, FLY went from an unknown, “hard to categorize” dance company with no touring experience to a popular new group wowing audiences around the country—touring an average of 25 weeks and 60 concerts and 100 educational shows annually in venues ranging from Barrow, Alaska to Washington’s Kennedy Center, while producing its own concert season in Houston and making multiple trips to Europe.
That version of FLY was the creation of Kathy Musick Wood, a retired public school dance teacher who, along with her daughter and husband, opened The Duplex Center for the Arts in their Houston home. Soon thereafter, Kathy 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. She invited the crew to The Duplex and began working with them and was quickly convinced that it would be possible.
Her plan was to do the unexpected: choosing a wide variety of music including a lot of classical; using ensemble dancing to contrast the dancers’ solos; adding classic choreography techniques, clever staging, acting skills, costuming, and comedy; and mixing it with the hip-hop dancers’ raw movement—powerful, funky, graceful, and sometimes bordering on the impossible. In the process, she created a genre that she dubbed “theatrical hip-hop”. All these elements and styles she melded into what became the unlikely collaboration called FLY Dance Company whose clean-cut, wholesome concerts toured from 2001 until 2006 with performances in venues including Jacob’s Pillow, Vail International Dance Festival, Lincoln Center, Bob Hope Theater, and many European festivals and concerts.
In 2012 the “new” FLY Dance Company was organized under the management of original FLY dancers Jorge Casco & Chris Cortez, and new partner Adam Quiroz. They began to work with Kathy on adapting many of the original performance pieces for the new dancers’ high-level breakdancing skills. Garnering the attention of national and international agents, FLY re-launched as a touring dance company. Soon thereafter, Kathy came out of retirement to join them as Artistic Director and the work on new concert choreography began.
Now FLY Dance Company, with new pieces in its repertory, a fresh image as “The Gentlemen of Hip Hop,” is touring again starting a new string of standing ovations with the promise of much more “history” to come.