Monica Santana Moves to the 2017 Arthur Murray All Star Final
Sometimes a wake up call has to be loud and clear.
Monica Santana, top Teacher from Area 6 in the upcoming All Star Finals, could tell you all about moments like that. Although this is her third Finals appearance, in her third different role, one of her biggest learning experiences was in 2016 - the year she didn't make it.
We can all learn something from how she rebounded from that.
Name: Monica Santana
Studio: Redwood City
Furthest you've made it in the All Stars before now: Vegas Finals in 2013, 2014, Semi-Finals in 2015, not at all in 2016.
Year You Started in the Business: May, 2013
What is the AM All Star Competition?
The Arthur Murray All Star Competition is a skills competition for every level of professional within each location around the world. The goal is to grow, develop, and reveal the professionals that demonstrate the best customer service, communication, problem solving, critical thinking, and teamwork skills. The competition begins in each studio and winners advance to small region, or District, competitions. From there the District winners advance to the large region, or Area, competition. Finally, the Area winners advance to the World Championships in Las Vegas where each Area team tests and one team is pronounced the winner.
More importantly, the real winners are the students of the Arthur Murray Dance Studios as these tests, and accompanying training, help to deliver better communication, teamwork, problem solving, and confidence from every member of the staff.
AML: First off, congratulations on moving on to the finals in Las Vegas. How did you react when the announcement was made?
MS: I was completely shocked and, at the same time, very, very excited.
AML: How did you feel going into the Semi-Finals?
MS: I was thankful that I was able to even make it that far. The year before, I hadn't made it past the first round. To make it that far was a humbling experience.
AML: What kind of last minute did you do prepare? Was there a pep talk? Did you do yoga in the hallway? Give us the scoop!
MS: As we began our trip to Seattle, on the day of the semi-finals, we studied together. We crafted simulations and tested each other. Chris sent us an awesome, last minute, training clip and it really helped me get into the mindset for the test.
As I waited in the hallway to be tested I practiced my Rumba walks. For some reason, it served as my meditation so I wouldn't freak out!
AML: How has this process made you a better professional?
MS: I feel that my ability to express my thoughts and feelings has gotten a lot better.
I am able to provide better service to my students and help them achieve their goals quicker.
Training our professional side involves the same amount of training as our professional dancing.
AML: What's you All Star backstory?
MS: My first All Star experience started shortly after I joined the company. I had the privilege of going to the finals as a Rookie.
It was super exciting, especially being so new.
The following year I was a part of the team as a Specialist. That was one of the toughest years for the team because we didn't make it to the top three.
The following years were a little tougher for me. In 2016 I didn't make it past the studio round. It was a big eye opener for me. It helped me see the areas that I needed to improve on as a teacher. I really took it to heart and made a conscious effort to improve it.
AML: What will it mean to you if the team wins it all this year?
MS: It would truly mean so much. This is a very special team. It's such a great honor to be able to bring the win to the team. It's like winning the Super Bowl for your city.
AML: Who are some people who helped you get to this point?
MS: There are a lot of people who helped me. The Redwood City Team, those that let me practice with them - Alex, Walter, Evan - and Chris and Daisey for their continuous training. Without them, I would not have made it this far at all.
AML: Last question, what does this mean to you?
MS: All Stars is very special to me. It has been one of the sources that has given me confidence in my teaching. I feel like it pushes me way out of my comfort zone and challenges me to always push further.
What makes All Stars special is, one - you have the opportunity of representing your area and two - you get to grow and learn from the team. By the time it's over, you always end up being a much stronger professional.
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