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 is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 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. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.6 million views. After three months on TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts, she had over 500,000 (1/2 million) views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.6 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

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