Young instructor Angelene Wong is bent on breaking the stereotype that pole dancing is strip-teasing.
When Angelene Wong (@Angelikespicy) decided to make pole dancing her first job, her boyfriend objected.
The 23-year-old English major from Nanyang Technological University expected the protest. Like many others, her boyfriend of 4 years saw pole dance as a form of striptease. He also wasn’t comfortable with her looking “raunchy” and “sexual” in public.
But Angelene did not shy away from her artistic pursuit. The recent graduate signed on to be a pole dance performer and instructor with the Singapore Lap and Pole (SLAP) Dance Studio. She also invited her boyfriend, Keith Png, to catch her perform to a rock song at this year’s Asia Pole Championship. To her relief, he liked her high-energy routine.
“He was very impressed that it (pole dance) can be so athletic,” Angelene told UrbanWire in an interview at SLAP dance studio. “I was very happy. I saw his caption on Snapchat and I knew he had a lot of respect for the art form.”
Keith added that he’s blown away by the elegant swirls and daring flips in his girlfriend’s routine. “I can never see pole dancing the same way again,” he quipped.
Angelene comes from a family of intellectuals. Her father is a Professor teaching Electrical Engineering at the National University of Singapore and her mother teaches at a secondary school; her 2 elder brothers are both pursuing their PhDs.
The sweet-faced beauty started taking dance classes at the age of 5. Her defined biceps and triceps, flat abs, strong legs and svelte figure are proofs of her dedication to the rigorous training.
Pole dance aside, Angelene is also well-versed in jazz, street dance, contemporary and other genres. She’s competed in a hip-hop dance-off in Los Angeles as an exchange student. Back home, she’s also taken part in the Singapore Dance Delight as part of team Debutante; and won second place in the Gatsby Dance Competition as part of team Siren. She is currently gearing up for the semi-finals of the World Hip Hop International in Las Vegas.
“When she wants something, she will set out to grab it at all costs,” said Keith of his girlfriend’s feisty and go-getting nature.
Angelene’s drive and determination are unmistakable. When she was preparing for ‘A’ Levels at 18 years old, the Catholic Junior College student was concurrently enrolled in the Developing Artiste Program at Jitterbugs Swingapore. Despite her academic load, Angelene would attend at least 8 dance classes per week at Jitterbugs to learn from different choreographers. During term breaks, she would also actively take up freelance gigs to accumulate experiences as live performer.
Her interest in pole dancing grew 2 years ago after she watched a video tutorial by award-winning pole dancer Jenyne Butterfly. She started taking pole dance classes at Bobbi’s Pole Studio before moving over to SLAP Dance Studio, but has stuck close to the contemporary styles rather than the more exotic and erotic routines.
“I think a part of me is still a bit scared of the reactions,” Angelene admitted, adding that she didn’t want to be seen as “provocative” and “slutty”.
Some of her friends teased her when she first dived into pole dancing. “They would say: ‘Oh, your boyfriend is so lucky’, or ‘I would like a stripper pole in my room then’. I was thinking: What stripper pole? Why can’t it be just a pole?”
But Angelene is starting to let go of her fear. She’s now learning to perform exotic routine on her 6-inch killer heels. “The sexy side of pole dancing can be very fun too,” she said.
But she will continue working hard to break the negative stereotypes associated with pole dancing. She also hopes more skeptics – just like her boyfriend – would come to appreciate pole dancing for what it is. An athletic and artistic pursuit, that is.
Take a look at Angelene’s dance routine to “All I want” by Kodaline: