Viviana Alcazar turned a love of dance into a career and a family. Dance made her who she is, and now she hopes to help children discover who they are.
Alcazar began dancing at three years old. In high school, she took a detour to run track and cheer. However, she said that she just knew she had to go back to dancing. She went to high school in El Centro, but moved away two weeks after graduation to have more opportunities. She initially attended Southwestern College and graduated with a degree in dance from California State University at Long Beach in 2007.
While in school, she taught elementary school children dance in her classes. At first, she thought she wasn’t communicating well and it wasn’t her favorite part of college. However, the children responded well to her manner of teaching. By the time she graduated, she had determined that teaching was the best path for her.
She moved back to San Diego and got a job with San Diego Unified, “I just fell in love with it. I fell in love with the faces and the curiosity behind their eyes and the way that they found that same relationship with movement that I had from such a young, early age. And, I just thought it was so special to be able to teach kids with their bodies and to learn from their bodies and have them have that confidence.”
Later, Alcazar began teaching dance classes at the Coronado Rec Center. In 2013, she formed her own company, heart2art (H2A), for children who wanted to push further than what recreational and school dance often offers. She said that she struggled with the decision to form the company, but the support of her family and community encouraged her to continue with her idea. She wanted to challenge children and encourage them to go further with their passions.
Initially, H2A consisted of more intense, specified training, and performing around Coronado. In 2014, she had one team and they competed in one competition. Now in 2017, there are three different teams from different age groups and they compete in three different competitions per season, as well as continuing to do local performances. The age groups are minis (5-8 years), juniors (9-11 years) and teens (12 years and older). The teens recently won Best Overall and First in Hip-Hop at a competition in Anaheim, as well as second overall at Move and Bravo dance competitions in San Diego. They also won best choreography at the Bravo competition.
H2A and Alcazar primarily focus on hip-hop, but Alcazar also enjoys teaching contemporary and jazz. She is fond of hip-hop for its entertainment, historical and cultural value.
“Hip-hop has evolved for so many years. When I started hip-hop in, oh gosh, in 1999, the songs, the music, the beats, the tempo…everything was so different and it just keeps evolving,” Alcazar said.
H2A is holding auditions on August 21 between 2pm and 5pm at the Coronado Community Center and the H2A crew invites everyone with a passion for dance who is looking to learn more or compete to audition. More information about H2A and the auditions can be found on its website here.
Alcazar hopes that through dance her children can learn about life and everything that comes with it. She said the greatest gift she can give the world is to help children learn.
To young dancers
“Keep going. And don’t stop and don’t let somebody tell you that you have to choose between… and I get this a lot. I get a lot of kids who come to me ready to graduate high school and ask me, ‘What do I do?’… do it all. Do both things. If you have that strong of a passion, find a way to make that work. Maybe it doesn’t have to be your overall career or your overall major but keep your feet wet in it still. Because that part of you can’t be taken away and I think that’s the part that’s really important,” Alcazar said, “And being an artist is just the most valuable thing every day to your own self. Without my artistry every day, I think I would be a little crazy.”
“Continue. Find a way to implement it in your world. Don’t give it up. You never know…”
Of course, this applies to everyone and their passions. Alcazar pointed out that supporting those you care about and finding people who support you is the most important thing. She said that with her dance children and her unborn son, she just wants to watch and help them grow and learn to be the best version of themselves.