Scholarly Advice: Monica Gana

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Monica Gana was a Steps Scholar in 2010, and won the NAMCYA Gold medal in 2011. Today, she is a Junior company member of Ballet Philippines. Here are Monica’s tips and insights for our new batch of scholars…

Can you give some helpful tips for a successful scholarship audition? 

Prepare yourself the night before.  Make sure you get enough rest and prepare your mind because there are three rounds in the audition (ballet, modern and jazz).  During the audition, be calm.  It really helps if you break down the combination and take each one a step at a time so that you don’t get so frazzled.  Most importantly, have fun!  Enjoy the experience and the beautiful studio. 😊

What were the biggest lessons and challenges you faced as a scholar at Steps? What were the positive learnings? 

Some of the lessons I learned were of the values of hard work and gratitude. Being a scholar gave me the chance to take a lot of classes and workshops or free with many great teachers and legends of Philippine dance, like Anna Valladolid, Paul Ocampo and Max Luna.  To get the chance to learn from them is something that I really appreciate because it’s not everyday when you get to be taught by artists like them.  I had a responsibility though to fulfil my duties as a scholar and to maintain it.  This meant working hard in my daily classes and showing my teachers that I am thankful to be one of Step’s scholars and I will work diligently to keep my scholarship.

How did your scholarship prepare you for your life as professional dancer?

The Steps Scholarship program gave me the opportunity to be part of many productions, mall shows and events.  All these gave me a lot of performance experience that allowed me to feel more comfortable on stage.  Today, this experience has made it easier for me to stand on the main theatre stage of CCP in the productions of Ballet Philippines.  Being a scholar with Steps has helped me to shape my desire in making dance my career.  The training that comes with being a scholar pushed me and made me determined to keep on improving myself as a dancer as well as reach for higher goals.  Also, being with the other scholars, interacting with them and seeing how they work inspired me to keep on working hard.

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