Evelyne Yung is an Investment Associate by day and an avid pole student/dancer by night. She wakes up in the wee hours of the morning ready to take on the world and spends a lot of her day glued to her phone or the computer.
“I basically help a team manage large sums of money so it can be super stressful because even a minor mistake can have extreme consequences. More often times than not, I am burnt out when I reach the studio but by the time I leave I am totally re-energized," Yung shared.
We asked her to share how pole has changed her life and this is what she had to say:
When and what was your first pole class?
I originally signed up for the two-week trial with the silks option a long time ago with no intention of trying pole. During my trial I ended up only going the Pussycat Hip Hop and Intro to Acrobatics classes and didn’t end up trying any pole/hoops/silks - it’s my biggest regret!
It wasn’t until sometime around late-March/April 2016 when I was deciding whether or not to commit to continuing parkour classes that I signed up for the 4-week Pole 101 course with Rachel. I ended up missing a class or two due to being sick but I loved the feeling of spinning around the pole so much I couldn’t resist continuing classes.
By May, I signed up for the Lite membership, and officially committed to the beginning of my pole journey.
What was your perception of pole fitness before your tried your first class?
I was aware there is a competitive aspect to pole fitness and that it is not just about exotic dancing but the stereotype still permeated. Due to my conservative culture and upbringing, I was taught to stay away from it (or anything considered ‘sexy’, really). However, once I decided to give it a go and took my first class - my life was changed forever. It is a lot harder than it looks. What may look like a simple move and simple dance flow can actually be the most difficult thing you’ve done.
To further illustrate this I tend to watch Instagram videos thinking - “I can do that!”; but when I make an attempt at it, it usually turns out to be an epic disaster. It’s a long learning process and it’s never as easy as it looks.
Overall, I didn’t think it would require as much strength or stamina and flexibility than I thought. It is an intense full body workout that challenges your creativity and strength of character. I have so much respect for pole athletes and exotic dancers now.
TLDR; Don’t underestimate the difficulty of pole fitness
How did you feel after your first class?
I felt determined! I finally found something that I wanted to focus my time and energy on. I’ve always moved onto trying new things before becoming sedentary again but after my first pole class and learning my first spin (Fireman spin), I was totally hooked. I loved the feeling of spinning around the pole and I wanted to learn more.
How has pole impacted your personal life?
This will be my longest answer, so bear with me.
Pole has impacted my personal life on many levels. The biggest impact pole made is on my mental health. Pole led me away from leading a sedentary life and I now have an activity that makes me genuinely happy. I am finally taking care of myself and learning to say ‘yes’ to doing something for my personal health instead of neglecting it to prioritize school and/or work.
Exotic dance class has also made me feel super empowered as a woman (even though I may not look sexy learning the move)! Tantra Fitness has taught me that everyone can be sexy and it’s okay to be sexy! Before every exotic class the instructor Sydney always tells us it’s a judgement-free place. So I go and be as sexy as I want in a safe environment. I don’t dance to seek approval or validation. I dance because it makes me feel happy and confident and I don’t think any other activity or community has made me feel that way before. I love that I have adopted the open-minded and accepting mentality of the Tantra community.
Pole has also taught me to focus on progress rather than perfection and to not compare myself to others. I worry less about judgment now and I appreciate who I am and what I can do. Each person is made differently and everyone’s journey is unique. With neurotic/perfectionist tendencies, this shift in thought has allowed me to relax. I’ve learned to laugh at my mistakes, and not take everything so seriously and it has taught me to celebrate progress as much and if not more than success!
Another big impact pole made on my life is the amazing community at Tantra. I have made many lifelong friends and the instructors are all amazing people. They are my second family! Everyone is super supportive and we are genuinely there to help each other. Just don’t be afraid to say ‘hi’ and you will make a new friend in each class. Thank you again to Mallory, Anna and Maria for always being there to support and challenge me!!
I love meeting people that come from all different walks of life and it is amazing to have everyone come together and express themselves through pole dance!
How has pole impacted your professional life?
Before pole, I found it difficult to balance my work life and personal life. I honestly did not feel like I had a lot of personal time at all because I was tired all the time so I'll just go home and become a couch potato after work. However I found with every pole class, I hit a reset button. I feel re-energized after class and my mind is refreshed, so by the time I go back to work I can perform at a higher level.
I also gained a lot of mental strength from pole dancing. I noted earlier that it is character building because the sport itself is demanding. I built patience and resilience while learning moves. I remember doing the cupid spin in 101 and the knee grip inversions in 303 at least 50 times in open studio. I learned not to write things off just because it seems difficult but to embrace the challenge and persevere.
What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about trying pole but is scared about what people will say or think?
With regards to being scared of judgment - don’t be! There is nothing to be scared of. Usually the people that judge you are ignorant and do not understand what the sport is (I was one of them!). Rest assured you will have a community of pole dancers supporting you on your journey. You’re not obligated to explain yourself.
People that do not understand will slowly learn to appreciate what you do. Invite them to a class! Show them videos of cool tricks! Educate them on the sport and share what a positive impact it has made on your life. People that care about you will see what an amazing experience it is for you and will not judge you (and may even join you)!
The confidence will come as you take more classes and soon you will not worry about what other people think. Pole dancing is not a taboo, it is not bad. It’s a sport and it is challenging! Pole dancers of any level should feel proud that they are attempting such an intense sport with gravity defying moves!
So, why not come and dance with Evelyn? Her favourite class is Lyrical Pole and if you look at her Instagram account you’ll notice a lot of her posts are lyrical routines! Evelyn shared one last thing with us: “The best part [about Lyrical Pole] is that it incorporates expressive dance moves and allows me to just dance my heart out!”
We invite you to come and dance your heart out, too!