HomeSchools & YouthSMHS Senior Redefines the Triple Threat

SMHS Senior Redefines the Triple Threat

First published in the Jan. 20 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.

Stanley Wong initially bristles at the term, but after increased interrogation resigns himself to the fact that it’s actually applicable to the San Marino High School senior.
In the entertainment universe, a “triple threat” is an artist who can sing, dance and act with relatively equal aplomb and in Wong’s case it’s an accurate portrayal.
“Whenever I am asked this question or receive this particular compliment, I always deny that I am a triple threat,” he said, laughing. “But truthfully, I’ve really had the time, experience and guidance to home in on my skills in each one of these disciplines through being in choir for several years, acting in several plays and musicals, and dedicating a lot of my high school career to dance.”
Wong brought up another word during our conversation that was both accurate and unique, which he used to acknowledge that he was indeed the first male to qualify for the school’s elite Dance Company troupe in its rich 38-year history.
“I actually get this question a lot and it’s honestly really great to be such a part of ‘frontiering’ a new era of dance at SMHS, where anyone and everyone can feel comfortable dancing and performing no matter who they are,” said Wong, for whom the word “frontiering” exemplifies his descriptive skills. “That being said, I am definitely not the first male to have been part of the dance department and I took a lot of inspiration from the guys who came before me.”
Wong didn’t join the school’s dance department until his freshman year when he enrolled in beginning dance, but he had somewhat of a head start through his previous participation in a similar activity.
“I attribute a lot of my natural coordination to figure skating, which I started at around the age of 3, and competed with until I stopped at about 10 years old,” Wong said.
“I honestly don’t know if I would have had the courage to audition for dance during my freshman year if I didn’t have them to look up to. But nonetheless, being the first male to make it into Dance Company definitely wasn’t an easy journey.
“It was especially difficult for me during my first few years of high school, when I struggled with feeling like I had to try to blend in with the rest of the girls, whether it was feeling uncomfortable with a certain dance move or having a costume that made me stick out like a sore thumb,” he added.
“A big mission of mine now as a senior on the Dance Advisory Board is to ensure that we are making dance as inclusive for everyone no matter their age, experience level, or — most importantly to me — their gender identity.”
His stellar stage presence has been fortified through his involvement in the drama department, which range from events such as “24-Hour Theater” and “One Acts” to specific shows like “Newsies,” where he played the role of Specs, “Not Your Average Zombie Apocalypse,” where he was cast in the lead role of Marty, “Peter Pan,” where he portrayed the role of John Darling, and “Grease,” where he played the roles of both Doody and Teen Angel. Wong is excited to be starring in this year’s musical “Band Geeks,” where he will play the lead role of Elliot Goodman.

Photo courtesy Stanley Wong
Stanley Wong

He has also been a part of many dance shows, including “Raising the Barre,” “Philia,” “Lights Out,” several “Dancetras” and in his words, “countless choir concerts.”
“Eventually, auditioning into Dance Company gave me a new sense of inspiration and confidence, where I knew that I could have a new say in how I felt about dance and I could start to embrace the parts of dance that once made me so uncomfortable. And for the most part, everyone I have come across has been so supportive of me being part of the dance department.”
It seems as though every waking minute would be consumed on the stage. But wait, there’s more.
Wong is also president of San Marino High School’s Thespians Society and student conductor and tenor section leader in the Chamber Choir.
“I’ve also found so many other interests throughout my time here,” he said. “I am currently the captain of the ComedySportz team at SMHS, which is essentially comedic theater improv in which we face off against other schools to earn the most audience laughter.
“Another extracurricular that has made such a big impact on my last few years has been acting as the class of 2022’s vice president during my freshman, junior and senior years, where I’ve really been able to make an impact on what it means to be a ‘22 Titan.”
Other extracurriculars on his glittering resume include the Random Acts of Kindness club, where he currently holds the position of vice president; Link Crew, where he is a commissioner; and Titanium Robotics, which he recently joined.
“I wanted to try something new that I’ve always been interested in,” he said.
Wong hopes that his mailbox soon includes a notice of admission to Northwestern or UCLA, where he hopes to study biomedical engineering while simultaneously pursuing the arts.
Stanley is the son of Diana and Eric Wong and has a sister, Kate, who is a freshman at SMHS.
One might think that Wong has done it all during his career, but he will achieve another this Friday night in San Marino High School’s Neher Auditorium at 7 p.m.
“As a second-year member of Dance Company I have the opportunity to perform my first-ever solo on the Neher stage for ‘A Night of Choreography,’” Wong exclaimed.
“This is very self-inspiring to see how far I’ve been able to come since my freshman year. I will be performing a lyrical piece … in which I tell a story filled with heartache, regret and a little bit of hopeless insanity. A lot of my high school experience has shaped the way that I’ve learned to tell a story, so to me, choreographing a dance means so much more than just movement, but it also means utilizing the lighting, various facial expressions, costuming, theater space and sound to tell a story.”
In other words, frontiering.

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