Introducing the 2019 Spotlight Shine On Ambassadors!

Dayanara “DIDI” Vega, 12

I am a Latina girl born in Hillsboro, Oregon with a Salvadoran heart. I’ve been dancing since I was 6, started with only two classes! Now, I call my second home my dance studios. I many hours a week at Elevate Dance Academy in ballet, tap, contemporary, musical theater, and technique classes. I also attend Lines Dance Academy where I train in Latin styles from Salsa, Mambo, Pachanga and Cha Cha. I was glad my parents wanted me to explore that part of the Latino culture. I am so blessed to attend a performing arts school in Beaverton, Oregon called ACMA where my focus is dance, but I’m also exploring other classes like theater. This past summer, I began to train with aerial skills at The Circus Project in Portland, Oregon. There, I faced many physical challenges from learning just the basics for trapeze, silk, lira, Chinese pole, contortion, and much more. I am most interested in silks! My life goals right now are to grow, continue learning so I can succeed in what I do, and I also want to be a role model to show many kids that things are possible with hard work and dedication. I am a blessed girl and I get to do what I love. I feel excited to have this chance to show you all part of my lifestyle and how dance has helped me be the girl I am today.

Jyiah Long, 14

I’ve been performing and practicing dance and gymnastics since around the age of two. Both skills have allowed me great flexibility and the gift to thrive in all areas of a dance including Acro, Pointe, Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, lyrical and praise dance. Since the age of seven, I’ve done various photo-shoots, fashion shows, magazine spread, and danced in numerous productions including the Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker! I am a proud family member of the Temecula Valley Dance Academy where I study dance with some of the world’s greatest dancers and teachers who really love their craft. I am a homeschooling student taking both High School and college classes to further my education. I am so excited to start blogging with Spotlight! Be sure to follow my stories all year long!

In the future I would like to…

A. Own my own studio
B. Become a world-renowned choreographer
C. Become a chiropractor who specializes in helping dance

Kira Howe, 17

I live in Moorpark, CA with my parents and have an older sister that studies at UC Davis.  I’m 17 years old, a junior at Moorpark High School and have been on the Varsity Dance Team since my sophomore year. I also have a talent agent, Go 2 Talent, and love my agent.  I have been dancing since I was 9 years old (except my mom says I was 5 when I first went and then I screamed at my teacher I didn’t want to dance anymore–that’s a whole different story. My accomplishments thus far witnessing how much I have grown in dance (and still learning), and I have maintained a 4.2 GPA. I am also involved with my church. I feed the homeless once a month and giving back is important to me, especially, when I can do something in return and see a smile on their face. My future goal is to continue to dance whether it’s for a company, teaching, or choreography and to get my college degree.

Layla Pourhosseini, 14

I have been dancing for eleven years and have grown so much as a dancer and a person. Dance has taught me to have patience, to have a growth mindset, how to work hard, and many more things. During my seven years of competing, I have won some pretty cool awards, but I have to say my best one was winning the highest scoring routine at a Nexstar competition a few years ago with my lyrical group. As I grow up, I would love to pursue a professional dance career, own a studio, continue doing what I love best, dancing!


Nicci Arentsen, 16

I am 16 years old and I live in Orange, California! I have been dancing since I was five and started competing at the age of nine at my home studio South Coast Performing Arts. I recently tore my ACL and had complete reconstruction in my knee last May, which tore me up emotionally and I had to overcome a lot. An ACL recovery is 6-9 months so I am just starting to dance again after hours of PT and being patient! I still am not competing in group numbers this season but starting to compete my solo! I am a junior in high school so starting to think more about college. In my future, I see myself either double majoring in dance and either business or kinesiology or going to college and auditioning for a dance team! I definitely want to keep my passion for dance alive in my future years!

Vanessa Carroll, 17

I’m currently a senior at El Modena High School in Orange, California where I have a 4.0 GPA and I’ve been Captain of the Vanguard Dance Company for the past two years. I have been dancing competitively since the age of eight competing in competitions such as Spotlight Dance Cup, Star Systems, Showstoppers, Hall of Fame Dance and KAR. At competition, I enjoy dancing all styles including tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, ballet and contemporary where I have been fortunate enough to win numerous awards! In Summer 2018 I was one of the fortunate dancers to be selected in the New York City Rockettes Summer Intensive where I learned some of the Rockettes iconic dances. My career goal is to one day be a Radio City Rockette.


Be sure to follow all of our ambassadors and us @spotlightdancecup on Instagram and visit the blog weekly for articles and updates on their journeys. See you soon at a show near you! SHINE ON!

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