Interview With: A Two-Time Ballerina Dropout Turned Pole Dancer
32, Partner of RoyalFam
For most people, rejection is like a punch in the gut. It leaves you crushed, burnt and never looking back. For Sue-Anne, to reject her is to challenge her. This two-time ballerina dropout got her first no at age 5 & again at 17. Today, she is a self confessed pole dancing addict with all the right moves.
We first met in 2008 at a 3-day camp with over 200 people. The ultra demanding camp schedule did not give us time to chit chat or get to know each other. Not to mention, Sue-Anne came across as soft-spoken, shy and almost timid-like. But her tall frame, long shiny Rapunzel hair, slender figure and china-doll face is hard to miss – and forget.
A week after camp, at a Russell Peter’s show, I bumped into Sue-Anne. In the public washroom. Fresh off our camp experience, we were like mates who shared a common unspoken bond. Fast forward three years later, I randomly landed on a blog about pole dancing. There she was…again! Scrambling on Facebook, I got back in touch with her. The intrigue and curiosity was killing me. I wanted to know how Sue-Anne, the shy timid girl I once knew, transformed herself into an improbable sexy pole dancing queen.
You were rejected twice in ballet at a young age. What made you choose pole dancing as an adult?
I specifically wanted to learn pole dancing for its beauty and sensuality. I had seen it demonstrated live at a dance studio many years ago, and even went for a trial class. But at that time, I was very unfit. To make things worse, the instructor did not seem keen to take me on as a student. She told me if I could not reach the pole and pull myself up using my arms, it would be very difficult to keep up with her in her classes. She had a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude.
So you left it?
Yes. In 2011, five years after that incident, I revisited pole dancing again. This time, I was under tremendous work-related stress in a male-oriented environment. I knew it was time to indulge in something uniquely feminine and fabulous.
One of the biggest misconceptions about pole dancing is that it is for strippers and exotic dancers. Do you think people still have the same mindset?
I don’t think it is a big deal in Singapore. We don’t have a strip club culture that involves pole dancing like in the US and other western countries. In Singapore, you would only be able to learn pole dancing in a dance or fitness studio. So I feel our context for it in Singapore, and Asia, is a way more wholesome one.
When you tell someone you are a pole dancer, what kind of reaction do you normally get?
Most of the time I get ‘That’s cool! I heard it’s a really tough workout!‘ from both men and women. I do notice that lots of women get quite interested. They try and ask me lots of questions like where do I learn, how long have I been dancing, how difficult is it…etc. And even those who aren’t keen to try it for themselves seem intrigued by it as a dance form.
Describe your first pole dancing class experience.
I was super nervous and excited! It was at a small studio that only had 6 poles. There were 10 girls. So we took turns. I was hooked after my first spin. Luckily for me, this studio emphasizes fitness over dance.
What challenges did you face in the beginning?
I had zero upper body strength when I first started. I was never into any kind of sports or fitness growing up. I only started doing very basic yoga in my mid-twenties. And that was literally my introduction to voluntary exercise! I was also quite self-conscious and shy. I had a hard time ‘allowing’ myself to be sexy and playful. Initially, I had a hard time watching myself dance in front of the mirror. It was a gradual process of letting go of a lot of inhibitions, and discovering my own expression. For a few months, I felt weak, stiff and uncoordinated. But every time I went for class, it was just the most fun I have had in years!
How did you overcome those challenges?
Perseverance and regular practice. I just kept going for more classes regularly until everything slowly got better.
Has pole dancing changed your life? In what way?
Absolutely. I’m a lot more confident. I express myself more freely. I am by far the fittest I have ever been. It is the result of breaking through the boundaries of what I once thought impossible…over and over again!
Do your family and friends support your pole dancing?
Right from the start, my husband has always encouraged me to go for it. When he saw how happy it made me, he bought me my own pole as an early birthday present! My mum was big into line dancing, and my sister does Indian dance in school. So my family shares and understands the passion of dance, and are cool with my pole dancing.
What advice would you give to someone interested to learn pole dancing?
Just do it! Don’t worry about not being strong, flexible or a good dancer. You don’t have to be any of those to start. But you will be after you’ve been at it for a few months! And even better if you can find a girlfriend to learn with together. It is great for female bonding.
Do you recommend any particular school?
I am partial to Bobbi’s Pole Studio Singapore where I take my classes. The environment is super fun, girly and supportive. I have made so many friends there since I started.
How ‘Green’ are you?
My body moisturizer is by Sukin Organics, and some of my makeup brushes are from Eco-tools. My husband and I ordered organic vegetables before, but the cost was too high to maintain. I have not tried much organic fruit, though I’ve heard it is a lot tastier. I’m actually scared to start in case I prefer it, due to the high cost!
Do you practice eco-consious living?
I recycle as much as I can. I also participate in National recycling programme where people go to homes to collect recyclable waste. Personally, I make an effort not to be wasteful – be it electricity, water usage and food. And I keep my meat eating to a moderate amount.
If you could play your part in saving the planet, what is one thing you would do everyday?
Reduce overall consumption in all areas.
Thanks Sue-Anne ♥
To know more about Sue-Anne and her blog (chwennyland.com), click here.
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