Dance by Lina x Dancer of the Month: Monica Gana

A little something from our Ms. December Monica Gana! I met monica with Miguel a few years ago and after watching her perform we were so impressed with the energy she brought on stage and in her rehearsal space. Monica brings fire on stage as soon as she steps on it, we will never forget the first performance we saw her dance in and since then I’ve been such a fan of hers. A dancer with Ballet Philippines, she shares with us today her time and words of wisdom, to those who would like to be inspired by this little ball of energy. Here are a few things about her and we hope you love reading about her as much as I loved to get to know her.

1. How did it feel to pursuing your passion? 

It’s really been a journey. Being a professional dancer has taught me many things and they’re not just about dance. I’ve learned so much about life and of being a person. If I didn’t pursue dance, I don’t think I would be the way I am today.

2. Are there other things and hobbies you like or do? 

Aside from binging on Netflix, I like to read. “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” and the “Divergent” series are a few of my favorites. I also take Pilates. It really helps me feel in tune with my body and I learn something new every time. Since my body can’t take gluten well, I bake my own treats.

3. Are there things that you regret not doing or wish you could do? 

“I can’t. I have rehearsals.” This was my motto all throughout my school years. There are times where I wished I went to that party or hung out more with my high school or non dancer college friends. Sometimes, I wonder what if I took a different degree. Would I have pushed through with having a dance career? Then again, this is the path I was meant to take. 

4. What do you enjoy doing in your free time when you’re not dancing. 

Lately, I’ve been fond of these DIY miniature house models. Creating the little furniture and ornaments and then putting together all the pieces to build the little house brings me to a happy place. I also like to swim. Not only is swimming a good workout but it’s fun. It also helps me think and reflect. 

5. Did you finish college? And what are your plans in the future? 

 I graduated with a Bachelor of Performing Arts Degree in Dance from the College of Saint Benilde. They had a consortium with Ballet Philippines so I was lucky to be able to study and start my career at the same time. Doing both was a struggle. It took me 5 years to graduate but it was all worth it at the end. 

There are so many things I want to do in the future. I want to be a dance teacher, a Pilates instructor, a writer for a publication and a physiologist. When I start to get frazzled by my future plans, my mom reminds me to focus on the present. I believe that though. You have to focus on your now because these moments don’t last forever. 

6. Do you still keep in touch with your old ballet teacher? 

Luckily, I get to see them in CCP. My teacher and coach from Steps Dance Studio, Jeffrey Espejo, teaches company classes in BP. Sir Nonoy Froilan has restaged multiple works for the company, such as our recent Cinderella. Social media has also helped me keep in touch with my old teachers. I get to chat with them online and receive some forever golden words of advice. Thank God for technology because I get to read them every now and then since it’s saved in my phone. 

7. Are there dancers you look up to, and why? 

There are many dancers who I look up to. Marianela Nunez, Natalia Osipova and Anna Tsygankova are great artists who I can just watch and fawn over all day. One of the dancers I really look up to is Candice Adea. Not only is she a great dancer but a strong, mature and faithful human being. My main inspirations are my peers and co-dancers in BP. Whenever I find myself in a ditch, I just talk to them or think of how they get through their troubles. Their life stories motivate me to keep going. 

8. What advice can you give girls and boys in the Philippines or anyone who wants to pursue dance outside of the country? 

Pray for it. God will hear you. And if it doesn’t happen, it’s ok. He has another plan for you. Just keep working and believing because everything happens for a reason.

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