Introducing our 2019 Spotlight Shine On Ambassadors!


Dayanara “DIDI” Vega, 12

instagram: @didiv101

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.


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


Jyiah Long, 14

instagram: @jyiah_jyaele


kira howe, 17

instagram: @kirahowe_

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.


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!


Layla Pourhosseini, 14


Nicci Arentsen, 16

instagram: @nicci.arentsen

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!


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.


vanessa carroll, 17

instagram: @vanessacarroll_

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!