2021 Grand Prize Finalists

Hosted by Spotlight Alum and pop recording icon Josh Groban, the Spotlight Grand Finale will premiere virtually on May 22, 2021, 7:00 p.m. PDT and will showcase all 14 finalists' thrilling performances as well as a showstopping opening number!

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Acting Finalists

JORDAN ANDERSON, 18, is a senior at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts where he studies theater. Awards include: YoungArts Finalist for Theatre (2021). Roles include: Barfee from The 25th Annual County Spelling Bee; Frank Cioffi from Curtains; David Sarnoff from The Farnsworth Invention; and Orsino from Twelfth Night. This year, he acted in his first independent film, Strings, produced by Filmboy Moving Pictures, being released October 2021. He wants to thank God, his family, and all the mentors he has had over the years for his growth as an actor and as a person. Jordan has been involved in the performing arts since the 8th grade and plans to study theater in college. This is Jordan’s second year participating in Spotlight.

 

HANNAH NORDBERG, 16, is a junior at Campbell Hall. She studies acting with Lea Floden and voice with Julia Gregory. Hannah discovered a love for musical theatre in first grade and made her professional debut at nine years old originating the role of Olive Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine at the Second Stage Theatre in NYC, directed by James Lapine. Film/TV credits include: Overboard; Ewan McGregor’s American Pastoral; Longmire; Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors and Coat of Many Colors; and General Hospital on ABC. Honors include: Spotlight Non-Classical Voice Semifinalist (2019 and 2020). Currently, Hannah has a recurring role on HBO’s Euphoria, and is the voice of Grace on Fancy Nancy on Disney Junior. This is Hannah’s third year participating in Spotlight.

 


Ballet Finalists

MIA SCHLOSSER, 15, is a freshman at Westlake High School. She has been training at California Dance Theatre for 12 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 Summer course (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.

 

NATALIE STEELE, 14, is a freshman at JSerra Catholic High School. Natalie began dancing at two years old and has trained at Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy under direction of Dmitri and Jennifer Kulev for the last several years. She fell in love with ballet for its elegance and precision. Awards include: Youth Grand Prix Award at YAGP Los Angeles (2020 & 2021). In 2019, Natalie advanced to the final round at YAGP Finals and performed at Lincoln Center where she also received top six for pas de deux with her partner Jacob Alvrado. Natalie would like to thank her DKCBA family for providing excellent training and support. This is Natalie’s first year participating in Spotlight.

 

 


Dance Finalists

EMMY CHEUNG, 17, is a junior at Orange County School of the Arts in the Commercial Dance Conservatory. She also trains at West Coast School of the Arts under the direction of Paula Kessinger. She has worked with choreographers Zak Schlegel, Ray Leeper, Teddy Forance, Stacey Tookey and Laurie Kanyok. Awards include: Spotlight Non-Classical Dance Semifinalist (2019); Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) New York Finals (2017); YAGP Contemporary first place (2017); and Dance Awards top 10 (2015-2019). She would like to thank her mom, dad, and sisters Ally and Casey, for supporting her as well as her teacher, choreographer and mentor of many years, Chalatorn Ujamras. Emmy plans to pursue her BFA for dance in college. This is Emmy’s third year participating in Spotlight.

 

SELENA HAMILTON, 16, is a high school junior who is home schooled. She trains at Project 21 under the direction of Molly Long, with Madison Hicks and Sam Neas. Selena has been dancing for 11 years and has worked with choreographers including: Tessandra Chavez, Tyce Diorio, Brian Friedman, Teddy Forance, Will Loftis, and Tricia Miranda. She has performed in Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker; competed on World of Dance Season 4 on NBC, The World’s Best on CBS, and Lip Sync Battle on Nickelodeon. She was featured on the cover of Dance Spirit Magazine. Awards include: YoungArts Merit Winner (2021), Radix Dance Convention’s Junior & Teen Core Performer title winner (2017 & 2019). Selena is pursuing a professional dance career. This is Selena's first year participating in Spotlight.

 


 

Classical Voice Finalists

CATHERINE JOHNSTON, 17, is a senior in the Classical Voice conservatory at the Orange County School of the Arts. She studies voice with Kathleen Martin. Honors Include: Music Teachers' Association of California VOCE, Senior State Division 1st Place (2020); OC Register Artist of the Year and Classical Voice Finalist (2020); National Association of Teachers of Singing, Nationals Semifinalist (2020); Classical Singer Competition Finalist (2020); and Classical Singer Vocal Convention, 2nd Place Musical Theatre (2019). Performances include: South Coast Symphony - Stars of the Future (2019). Catherine will be attending Northwestern University in the fall to pursue a dual degree in vocal performance and human communication sciences. This is Catherine's fourth year participating in Spotlight.

 

AVA KUNTZ, 17, is a senior in the Classical Voice Conservatory at Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA), where she participates in Opera Scenes, Chamber Singers, Bel Canto and National Honor Society. She studies voice privately with Kathleen Martin, William Vendice and Vera Calabria and is indebted to all of them for their love and expert training. She would also like to acknowledge her amazing teachers and mentors at OCSA. Honors in 2020-21 include: Spotlight Merit Award for Non-Classical Voice; National Finalist Classical Singer Competition; National Semifinalist, National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Student Auditions; 1st Place NATS Cal Western Region; 1st Place NATS Los Angeles; 1st Place Schmidt Vocal Competition Tennessee; and 1st place VOCE Competition. This is Ava’s fourth year participating in Spotlight.

 


Non-Classical Voice Finalists

MEGAN COLTON, 17, is a senior at The Rancho Learning Center. She studies voice with Keely Milliken and Dean Kaelin. Megan trains in acting with Melissa Hayden. She has appeared in various plays, dance productions and musicals. Megan has been a part of Centre Stage Inc. in Monrovia since she was nine years old where she found her voice in musical theatre. Roles include: Eponine in Les Miserables, Katherine Plumber in Newsies, and Jo March in Little Women. She thanks family, teachers, friends and especially Keely Milliken who has played a vital role in her growth as an artist. Awards include: Spotlight Non-Classical Voice Semifinalist (2020). This is Megan’s third year participating in Spotlight.

 

 

CHRISTIAN TYLER DOREY, 17, is a senior at California School of Arts – San Gabriel Valley (CSARTS). He has studied with Devon Yates, Judson Williford, Lea Woods and Christopher Hanke. He has participated in Broadway Dreams Foundation programs for five years.  Awards include CSARTS: Exemplary Embodiment of the It’s Never Too Late to Learn Pillar (2020); Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical for Simba in The Lion King (2019-2020); Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Musical for Sebastian The Crab in The Little Mermaid (2018-2019). Other roles include: Benny in In the Heights; Mitch Mahoney in Spelling Bee and The Leading Player in Pippin. Christian thanks his mother and teachers for their support. This is Christian’s first year participating in Spotlight.

 


Classical Instrumental Finalists

FENGYANG (WILLIAM) JU, 16, is a junior at the Colburn Music Academy. He studies with oboe professor Mingjia Liu and he is grateful for his training. Awards include: From the Top Finalist (2021); California Junior Bach Competition Gold Medalist (2020); Spotlight Classical Instrumental Semifinalist (2019 & 2020); and Colburn Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition Winner (2020). He has performed in Colburn Youth Orchestra and Idyllwild Arts Youth Orchestra as a principal oboist. Fengyang has participated in several master classes and festivals with Elaine Douvas, Nathan Hughes, Alex Klein, Katherine Needleman, Robert Walter and Carolyn Hove. He plans to become a professional oboist. Fengyang appreciates the opportunities and encouragement that his teachers and family have given him. This is Fengyang’s third year participating in Spotlight

DANIEL BAE, 18, is a senior at iQ Academy. He studies violin with Robert Lipsett, the Jascha Heifetz Distinguished Violin Chair at the Colburn School. Awards include: Vernell Greg Young Artists Competition Grand Prize (2021); MTNA National Competition 2nd place (2021); Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition 1st prize (2020); Stulberg International String Competition Finalist (2020); Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist Concerto Competition Grand Prize (2019); and ENKOR International Music Competition 1st prize (2016). He has appeared on From the Top (NPR) as a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award Recipient (2018); has played the national anthem at a Major League Baseball game; and has performed as a featured soloist with numerous orchestras around the country. This is Daniel’s second year participating in Spotlight.

 


Jazz Instrumental Finalists

SANTIAGO LOPEZ, 18, is a senior at Los Alamitos High School where he plays tenor saxophone in the Jazz Big Band and Jazz Combo. He currently studies under Rusty Higgins. Santiago was also a member of The Colburn Monday Night Band (2019, 2020). Honors include: Monterey Next Gen Jazz Festival Outstanding Soloist Award (2017); Riverside Community College Jazz Festival Outstanding High School Musician Overall (2018, 2019); Reno Jazz Festival Most Outstanding Saxophonist High School Division (2019); DownBeat magazine High School Saxophone Soloist Award (2020, 2021), Spotlight Honorable Mention in Jazz Instrumental (2020); Young Arts Honorable Mention (2021); and Vandoren USA Adam Larson Jazz High School Competition 1st Place (2021). This is Santiago’s second year participating in Spotlight.

 

JJ LYBBERT, 16, is a sophomore at the Los Angeles High School for the Arts (LACHSA). He studies drums with Daniel Schnelle, Jonathan Pinson (Spotlight Alum), and Roy McCurdy. Jj is currently playing drums in LACHSA’s A combo and trumpet in their Big Band. He has participated in Colburn School’s Monday Night Combo and the All-State Honor Band. Jj has been studying the drum set and percussion for 12 years. Awards include: Spotlight Semifinalist in Jazz Instrumental (2020); Leon “Ndugu” Chancler Award at the Stanford Jazz Workshop (2019); YoungArts Merit winner in percussion (2020 and 2021). One of Jj’s biggest musical inspirations is Gerald Clayton (Spotlight Alum). Jj sees himself playing professionally around the world. This is Jj’s second year participating in Spotlight.