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. 

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WHAT I THINK MAKES A GOOD DANCE TEACHER, THE KIND I ASPIRE TO BE:


Anyone can be a dancer but not everyone has the skills to be an effective and good dance teacher. It takes so much skill and patience for a teacher to be able to mold a beginner into what they visualise someday for their dancers. Theres so much more to teaching than a lot of people think of it, even more than just choreographing steps, its an art.
We all of course differ in our opinions of what makes a good dance teacher. Some would prefer a more relaxed and happy teacher as others might prefer a more strict teacher. I don’t think theres just one way of teaching, each teacher has something to offer. But regardless of that I think there are certain qualities that A eacher should possess.

1. Professionalism:  A good teacher respects her students. I think a teacher should be someone you will respect no matter what situation. They can handle situations effectively, in the way they speak, talk and dress. Its really important that the teacher for me interacts well with students.

2. Experience and Reputation: Although i don’t believe that a dance teachers educational background matters or is directly related to their way of teaching, as I have had plenty of amazing dance teachers who didn’t even take dance as a course. I think reputation and experience speaks for them. Plenty of dancers, even without any certification such as retired professionals can be amazing dance teachers. I think its important to consider how long they have been teaching and observe their class before enrolling too.

3. Patience and Organisation: A good teacher, knows how to organise his or her lessons. And and effective teacher knows that it takes time to master a step and choreography. A good teacher puts emphasis on the simple steps, rather than jumping straight to the difficult ones.

4. Punctuality: A good dance teacher is always a good example. Being Punctual means he or is a responsible teacher, if your teacher is more than 10 mins late to class with no apparent reason all the time then i think you should consider changing your school.

5. Dedication: A good teacher is completely dedicated to teaching you the best things they know.

6. Constantly learning: A good teacher is also someone who constantly strives to be better, and to give you the best dance education.

7. Passion: And finally a good dance teacher is passionate about what she or he does. Good dance teachers, inspire and they share. They are constantly giving and learning for you. A teacher is also a student, A teacher learns new things and adapts them for you in class. This is what i aim to be, to generate dancers who want to dance and to inspire them to aspire to become the best in an artistic and technical way.

if you have a teacher like this then good for you! REMEMBER: At the end say that a good teacher deserves an equally good student, so do your best and do them justice. Tag your favourite dance teachers and tell them how much you love them. ❤

Dance by Lina update, May 2016

Its our recital in 2 weeks, my birthday in a few days and I still have to rehearse my students with the other school. I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been able to update again. We started making a new line of pouches. Pouches for your small dance things. I get all the cloth from Japan and everything is Pure Japanese cotton. Well thats what my supplier would say.
We also decided to stick to skirts, laces and other things like the sort. Recently my sewer and I studied how to make Practice tutus and tutus so we are also looking into making more of those too. I know I’m not a professional designer, but I’m having a lot of fun figuring things out and working on more things. It’s starting out to be a very exciting business.
I’m not sure weather I should continue it or not after next year or just pre ready everything months before and shipping out orders. Plenty of decisions to make, but looking forward to an exciting things ahead of us this year. Its been really fun and I’ve being doing really well but It takes so much of my time that sometimes I don’t get more than 3-4 hours of sleep in a day.
Foot Stretchers, Ballet pouches, Ballet skirts, Practice tutus and dance costumes ❤ This is my focus as of now. All products are available on the link below or visit The Dance store PH for any of my products.
dancebylina.com

Why a lot of your dance friends will remain with you for life

Bad turning days. Glitter. Everywhere. Sticky floor. Sore muscles. “One more time”  is always a Lie.

Who else can understand your “Dancers Problems” but your dance friends. Your dance friends or ballet friends, whichever you may prefer to call them. Is what I would call, your ALL IN ONE kinda friends. All in one because they can relate to your normal human problems and they can also relate your problems in dance. (Like you have much human problems right? we hardly have lives outside of ballet)

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In between tons of shows with Mishkaela, Ate Henry and Ate Isay, 2008

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Staying at the ballet dorm during summers and ordering unhealthy food. Such as Pizza and around 5 Large McDo fries.

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The chaos before a show

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My best ballet friend and still my best friend ever

As we dancers all know. Dancing is really a love hate thing. I’m pretty sure whether you are gifted or not. We all go through the hating and loving process of this art form. One minute we’re all happy and spreading the weird vibes and the next minute we start the waterworks. Most times, it just drives me nuts.

Your dance friends are those you can be weird around, you don’t mind quick changing in front of or letting loose with. They stick with you through the hard times and of course the good times. There will be those who talk behind your back and those who tell you upfront that you’re not good. You will meet a variety of different people and personalities while dancing, so don’t take it personally when someone says something bad about you. It’s really like that in dance. You’re going to have to learn to ignore those comments and laugh them off.

I love my dance friends. I have the moody friend, the hardworking friend, the artistic friend, the friend who does everyone’s make up, the friend who does everyone’s hair, the perky friend, the whiny friend, the gifted friend, the emotional friend, the nosy friend, the chismosa friend, the sister of the group, the wacky friend, the super flexible friend, the all around talented kind of friend and just all kinds of friends. Dance friends are always so interesting. So if you’re a normal human, you should try having a ballet dancer as a friend. You may not be able to relate to his or her “dancers problems” but I’m sure you’ll have a fun time. Take note though that not all dancers are nice, but most of the friends that I have made are. (So choose your dance friends wisely)

Ballet is so emotionally and physically tiring that you really will need a dance friend to keep you company. I know that you dance for yourself, but it would be easier for you to have a good dance friend to be there for one another. The friends who will pose with you in the middle of streets, help you do your make up and be tough with you when you cry. They will be your all in one and all around best friends. Even when you aren’t dancing anymore, you will have that same connection.

So here’s a shout out to all the dancers, co dancers, and ex co dancers out there who I have danced together with. I will always remember the good times we’ve had. I hope that someday we could all share the stage together again.

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Summer 2014, Right before our show

Back on Stage, CCP main theatre

It’s been nearly 3 months since I’ve set food on stage. I have missed it so much. There’s just something about being on stage and by the wings that thrills me.

It makes me miss the life of being in a ballet company. It didn’t really matter to me what role I played, because in the end ever person was an important element in the entirety of the show.

Feeling Nostalgic at the CCP dance studio. This was one of the first dance studios that I ever danced in when I was 4 years old.

Feeling Nostalgic at the CCP dance studio. This was one of the first dance studios that I ever danced in when I was 4 years old.

This new portion of my blog will be dedicated to all the dancers out there who could relate to how I feel. I believe in that saying “Once a dancer, always a dancer”. Whether you only dance once a week now or not, or maybe just take a few classes a year. That being a dancer, will not be stripped away from you because you know that you are still a dancer at heart. If you’re thinking that it is really difficult to let go of it,  you shouldn’t. You should embrace it and continue to spread your love for dance.

I know it is difficult to do so, as there is really more to life than just dancing every single day and having no social life or time for yourself. I have many friends from the company who have pursued different paths but whenever we come together again, I still see the dancers within them. I’m sure just as I do, they still pointe their toes from time to time or do some stretching. It’s been such a long “love hate relationship” with ballet, that it’s too late to give up. So I chose to keep it in my life for as long as I can. Embrace that there will always be a dancer within you.

#DancersProblems