Today we’d like to introduce you to Vince Horiuchi.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I 1st got into dancing as a very shy 13 year old kid. I loved watching Kung Fu movies and I would often practice all the tricks that they would do in secret. One day I came across a kid at my school doing a move called “Flares.” When I asked him what he was doing he said, “Breakin!” From there, it all started. I was basically doing Kung Fu moves to music for the 1st couple months but it eventually became something.
My friends and I grew up dancing in our garages & at Washington Neighborhood Center in Downtown Sacramento. This is where a lot of the dance community in Sacramento would meet up to dance every week. As I got older, I got a number of opportunities to compete in competitions and eventually travel both nationally and internationally for dancing.
When I 1st started college, I had to think about how I could continue to dance as often as I did while making money to pay my rent so I got into teaching. At one point, I was teaching at pretty much every dance studio in Sacramento. I eventually started teaching Breaking classes in public schools. Here I was working in low-income schools where typically these kids would not get the opportunity to take a dance class, so they appreciated what I taught them. They would come to class everyday excited with something to show me and because of this they would get good really fast. This is where I found my calling. Seeing the positive transformations in kids inspired me. Seeing a shy kid start raising their hands in class to answer questions inspired me. Seeing a kid who is looked at as the “Bad kid” become the best dancer in class inspired me. And seeing disabled students rise to the occasion and dance just as well as regular ed. students inspired me.
After I graduated from college, I started teaching full time. I was self-employed and very motivated to make what I was doing a success. That year was amazing! I was teaching around 27 classes a week and making the most money I had ever made in my life (which is actually not that much, but at the time I was excited about it haha.) The following year huge budget cuts hit California and I went from an all-time high to an all time low. All my classes were cut due to budget cuts. Schools were laying off teachers left and right, so a dance program was at the bottom of their list.
Instead of giving up I thought to myself “how can I continue to teach these kids without physically being in the classroom?” The answer was to make YouTube videos that they could watch for free. I started a YouTube channel, learned how to film and edit tutorials, uploaded them and sent them to the teachers. At this point, I didn’t expect much, but within months, everything changed. These videos went from 1K to 10K to 100K and I was getting massive amounts of emails from kids all over the world asking questions about dance. This was the start of my YouTube channel: VincaniTV. Today my channel sits at over 390,000 followers, with over 50 million views and I have been able to share with thousands of kids around the world.
Four years ago, I moved to LA with my wife Linh. She got into a Masters program at Long Beach State and I found a job working for a program called Universoul. This job focused on bringing specifically Hip Hop Dance into schools in an effort to not only expose kids to the culture but also share why learning art is important. For me, this was a perfect opportunity for me because it aligned with my goals and I had also been training on “Art Education” for the past five years. For me, the goal is to change the opinion of “This is something fun for the kids” to “this is something that kids need.”
Today I teach programs in South Gate, Santa Clarita, East LA, and El Monte. Here I teach the kids for ten week total. On the 6th week, we start learning about Battling, form crews within each class and on the 10th week, we hold a school-wide battle for the parents and school to see. To sum it all up, Art helps kids. Hip Hop helps kids. It is something that is relatable, they understand it, it challenges them and also pushes them to get better. Over the course of ten weeks, we see some amazing transformations in kids. Kids build confidence, leadership and respect. Shy kids come out of their shells, kids participate more in class and behavior issues become minimal. This is why art is important for kids.
Has it been a smooth road?
Teaching Breaking professionally has been a challenge. The 1st issue I had was that most people don’t take Art seriously. They see it as a fun activity but not an important activity. I would often get laughed at for asking someone to pay me to teach dance. They would look at me as if I was crazy for even asking and make it seem as if I should be the one paying them for an opportunity. Changing this mentality has been my biggest challenge.
I grew up in Sacramento, CA so there were not too many opportunities to become a professional dancer so to find work we had to get creative and hustle.
Please tell us about VincaniTV.
My company is called VincaniTV, where I provide Breaking tutorials for kids to learn from online. I designed these tutorials from the approach of an actual dance class so that kids can learn the basics, move on to hard moves and eventually become well-rounded dancers. When I 1st started this channel it was just a way to support my current students but now it has grown worldwide.
Over the past couple of years have ran into a number really amazing dancers that have told me that I introduced them to Breaking through my tutorials, which has meant a lot to me.
Today I am starting a new venture which is holding live workshops from my garage and streaming them all around the world. This is something that wasn’t possible five years ago because the technology wasn’t there, but today I am actually able to watch my students as I teach them from anywhere in the world.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think LA is an amazing city for what I do. There is a rich Hip Hop history here and there is a lot of kids that can benefit from a Breaking Class. What makes this exciting is how relatable it is. Almost every kid that takes my classes has a parent, an aunt, an uncle or family member that dances or used to dance. What is really exciting is that because there is so many Hip Hop Dance legends that are from LA, many of my students have been related to a Hip Hop Legend.
Of course, programs like these don’t happen overnight. We have to put lot of time and effort into them and make them look even more professional for schools to take us seriously. I really hope and encourage other dancers that are interested to do the same because these kids need this stuff.
- Website: http://www.vincanitv.com
- Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/bboyvincanity
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vincanitv
- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bboyvincanity
- Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/vincanitv
- Other: http://www.youtube.com/vincanitv
Vince Horiuchi, Cheryl Agutos, & Taylor Nguyen.