Congratulations Mia Schlosser, Finalist in The Music Center’s annual Spotlight program


Mia Schlosser is a freshman from Westlake Village and was recently named a Finalist in The Music Center’s annual Spotlight program. 2021 is the 33rd year of the program and Mia’s first year participating. This Jewish ballerina made it to the finals, which speaks to her level of artistry and talent at such a young age. 

Mia will receive a $5,000 cash scholarship and perform during the Grand Finale show, which will premiere first on YouTube on May 22 and will then air on PBS SoCal this summer (hosted by Josh Groban, a Spotlight alum!). 

More than 1,500 students applied, but only 14 are selected as finalists after three rounds of auditions, performances and master classes. It’s a great accomplishment for young students dreaming of a future in the arts. The program nurtures young artists and provides performance opportunities and access to professional coaching all for free

I asked Mia, “What do you love about ballet?”
She said, “One of my favorite aspects is the artistry side to dance. I love getting to play with the timing of the music, the shape of my arms, the head movements, how I place my feet, and especially how I express my face. The feeling of molding the choreography to my body makes me feel the happiest, and I am truly able to let go and find peace within myself. I also love performing because when I am on stage, I am unbothered. On stage, I feel the most true to myself, and I love seeing the choreography come alive!”

Mia Schlosser performs at Walt Disney Concert Hall for Spotlight Grand Finale

When asked, “What have you learned about yourself by way of your Spotlight experience?” Mia explained that “through Spotlight, I have learned to believe in myself. Going into the audition process, I had little confidence in my dancing, and I did not think that I would advance to the next round. Looking back, I wish I went in thinking that I could make it rather than doubting myself. This amazing program has been so supportive, and has helped me to have confidence in myself, but also in my dancing.

In its history, more than 51,000 students high school students have come through Spotlight and have gone on to win Emmys and Grammys while performing with major orchestras and ballet companies. 

Jeri Gaile, program director, former ballerina and actress explained what makes Spotlight so special:

“Spotlight is the complete package for high school students and is entirely free! Everything about the Spotlight program is constructive because we provide a constant learning and supportive environment for them. One key to success is the personalized coaching and feedback students receive before and after their auditions, outlining their strengths and areas to improve upon. We focus on preparing students for college and professional work whether they dream of a career on stage or off.  Students of all skill levels are encouraged to apply. As long as they have passion in the arts, there’s a place for them in Spotlight.”

Gaile spoke about Mia becoming a finalist in her first try and what makes Mia special? 

“Mia approaches the choreography with such finesse and it’s beautiful to watch, but that’s not what grabs me. I love her artistry. It’s the way she uses her arms, her head, her face, to express what she’s feeling. You are drawn in and can’t help but experience what she’s feeling. She engages the audience with her vulnerability, generosity, and heart. And that’s what the arts are about. They’re about engaging everyone.”

Mia Schlosser will be performing at Walt Disney Concert Hall for her finale performance: Flora’s Variation from the ballet: The Awakening of Flora. Composed by: Riccardo Drigo. Choreography by: Marius Petipa 

MIA SCHLOSSER (BALLET) 15, is a freshman at Westlake High School. She has been training at California Dance Theatre for twelve years and is currently in the professional training platform. Awards include: Youth American Grand Prix, 2nd place (2021); A Ballet Education’s June Magazine cover (2020); scholarships to attend The Joffrey Ballet’s Summer course (2017), and Boston Ballet’s (2021).  Mia is excited to attend the School of American Ballet’s summer course this year. She would like to thank Kim Maselli and all her incredibly supportive teachers at California Dance Theatre for continuously encouraging and believing in her dance journey. Mia would love to be to someday dance in a major ballet company. This is Mia’s first year participating in Spotlight

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.

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