Show modal before ng-repeat done adding elements

I have an ng-repeat in a modal and the data set the ng-repeat is loading is like 160 items long. But the modal won’t open until AFTER all the ng-repeat is done. On some devices this is taking like 3 to 5 seconds before the modal opens causing it to appear that the app isn’t responding. Its not the best UI experience and is causing impatient users to think the app is slow or isn’t responding.

What are some techniques I could use to manage this? How can I force open the modal before the list is full rendered, so that at least the top of the list is loaded into view before the user starts scrolling?