Meet Louis Sue, a 24-year-old Singapore guy. He’s also a professional pole dancer.
So, what is it like to be a male pole dancer in Singapore, where it’s still pretty much a predominantly female environment? And how do people react to him?
When did you first take up pole dancing?
About three years ago, in November 2014. It was when I was serving NS and wanted to look for something that combines dance and fitness, and pole dancing checks both boxes.
Where did you go for your first lesson, and how did you find the initial experience?
I had my first trial lesson at Acro Polates, with an instructor named Leron, who is now an instructor at PoleLAB. PoleLAB also happens to be where I first went for pole practice, and now I’m teaching there as an instructor.
How did the people around you react when you told them that you’re taking up pole dancing?
People definitely don’t always know how to react when I tell them that I pole dance, simply because it’s not a very common interest. Most of them would be curious though, so I would explain or show them videos. They usually end up being very fascinated and supportive of what I do.
Surprisingly, my friends and family have been very supportive. My dad even helped me purchase my first pole! They’ve always been very understanding and open-minded, and having their support just made practising this sport all the more enjoyable for me.
What is a common misconception about this sport that you’d like to debunk?
Pole dancing is not just about sleazy dance steps and strip clubs – you actually need a lot of strength and control to manoeuvre effortlessly around the pole. Yes, it can be sexy, but even that takes a lot of practice and effort. Oh, and we wear so little when doing this because we need our skin to be in contact with the pole for friction and grip. And yes, it hurts.
How did your body change after taking up pole dancing?
Well, for one, I don’t have to watch my diet very much these days. I lift my body weight so many times in a session, and I find myself working on my core and arms so much, all while having that little bit of cardio to keep myself relatively lean.
However, it’s not just about the physical change. In time, a pole dancer will naturally gain confidence in other ways and be less self-conscious about his or her body. A lot of us would be more concerned about gaining strength rather than picking on how our bodies look. Eventually, we become accustomed to the fact that everyone in class is working hard to nail the pole tricks, so we become less conscious about our own bodies, let alone others.
What would you say to guys to convince them to give pole fitness a go?
If you want to work on your physique in a more interesting way, build strength and agility, or just want to show cool tricks at parties on a lamp post, give pole dancing a try.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever heard someone say about your choice to do pole fitness?
That I am wasting my time. As of now, I’m the only active male pole competitor from Singapore. I made the decision to put my studies on hold so that I can pursue my dream of representing Singapore’s pole dance community. Considering our conservative culture, I wasn’t fully supported for making that decision – but that’s expected. Now, I’m juggling my day job, my job as an instructor at PoleLAB, as well as my training schedule for competitions. Even though I’m often deadbeat at the end of the day, I never once regretted making that choice.
On the other hand, what’s the best thing you’ve heard someone say about this?
I’ve only been doing this for slightly more than two years, so entering professional competitions were both stressful and daunting. Recently, I flew to Las Vegas to represent Singapore in a pole competition. I was also the Singaporean representative in Asia Pole Championship in 2017. The best I’ve heard would be that they’re proud that I’m representing this little red dot. To see myself hold my own against many other talented pole dancers who have been in this sport for much longer than I have been… it makes me excited to know that there is so much more that I am capable of.
Images: PoleLAB and Asia Pole Championship / Nudge Photography