Steve Flores ’11 is modeling a new style of entrepreneurship. An economics major who discovered hip hop dance at Denison, Flores founded One World Hip-Hop in 2014. His work has been so well received that he and his colleague were selected to represent the United States as dance ambassador for the October 2015 Guayaquil Arts Envoy in Ecuador.
In the Arts Envoy Program, American arts professionals travel throughout the world to conduct workshops, perform and mentor others. Flores will travel to Guayaquil and work with at-risk youth in an effort to “support and empower vulnerable and disenfranchised populations.”
“It’s never too late to hear the beat of the drums. It’s never too late to find your calling; it’s never too late to pursue your happiness.
So, how does an aspiring econ major develop into a respected and successful hip-hop dance artist? He began by listening to his heart.
During his senior year, Flores was feeling flat. “There was something missing. I kept challenging myself to explore and find my happiness.” As part of that self-exploration, he enrolled in Professor Sandra Mathern Smith’s Modern/Post Modern dance course.
There, he realized that movement allowed him to develop a voice, one that had been hidden for some years. After completion of his first department showcase — dancing alongside his colleagues in a traditional South African piece choreographed by Assistant Professor Stafford Berry — Flores knew he had found a new passion and decided to pursue a life in the arts.
“There were always drums beating; there was always movement in my body. There was always pure happiness and joy that was chained and bundled within my body, mind and soul,” said Flores. “I needed to go on a journey to find happiness and once I did I promised myself I would never let it go.
Flores moved to Los Angeles and landed several guest-starring roles but really found his groove when his gym instructor introduced him to hip-hop. After training at the International Dance Academy in Hollywood, he was slated for a list of projects that included L.A. Unbound, NuBiaH, a music video for Bay Area rapper George Watsky, and a few other commercials.
Things were falling into place — fast.
He landed a position as a visiting artist for an L.A. Urban Latin Dance Theatre, CONTRA-TIEMPO. Within two years Flores became a senior company member and a teaching artist. While he was with CONTRA-TIEMPO, he toured Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia as a dance ambassador.
After he won a six-month dance scholarship at the Athletic Garage Dance Center in Pasadena, Calif., Flores switched his focus and developed his own company, One World Hip-Hop. Soon, he will be on his way to Guayaquil.
“It’s never too late to hear the beat of the drums. It’s never too late to find your calling; it’s never too late to pursue your happiness,” said Flores. “And once you do, smile, for the vibrations once held within you for so long are finally being received and welcomed by the vibrations of the universe; synchronicity at its purest form.”