Park La Brea resident Isabella Franco is among the 111 high school students named as semifinalists in the Music Center’s 29th annual “Spotlight” program.
Approximately 1,300 students auditioned for the scholarship and arts training program, which names semifinalists in seven categories, including acting, ballet, non-classical dance, classical voice, non-classical voice, classical instrumental and jazz instrumental.
Sixteen-year old Franco, an 11th-grader at Marlborough School, is excited to be among the students to advance in the ballet category.
Speaking to the Chronicle, Franco says that she was nervous before the audition, where she performed two variations in front of judges, but felt confident she had done her best:
“I got an email one week after the audition saying that I was a semifinalist. I was really excited,” she says with a giggle.
Franco says that, to prepare for the finals, she is working with her teachers on two variations that she hopes to perform, in addition to her daily technique classes. And that’s on top of her regular schoolwork at Marlborough.
“I dance because I want to inspire people. I want to tell them a story, and make them leave with something new in their hearts, whether it be passion, happiness or grief,” says Franco.
First put in a ballet class by her mother at the age of three, Franco says she was immediately “enchanted” and knew that ballet was what she wanted to study.
“It fills me with passion and happiness.”
Franco studies at the Miracle Mile Marat Daukayev School of Ballet, where she performs annually in the school’s production of the Nutcracker. Her dream is to one day dance with a major ballet company.
Semifinalists of The Music Center’s Spotlight program receive a rare opportunity to attend a special master class with highly regarded artists who share their expertise on performance technique, training and professional life.
“Although every single part of Spotlight is valuable,” Franco says, “my favorite parts of the process are the comments I get back and the master class. The feedback helps me grow both artistically and technically.”
Each Spotlight semifinalist, including Franco, will audition again before a new panel of judges, who will then select the top two finalist performers in each category for a total of 14 grand prize finalists.
The finalists will perform at Walt Disney Concert Hall in the Spotlight grand finale performance on May 23, 2017.