Dergin Tokmak was born December 26, 1973 in Augsburg, Germany. He contracted polio when 1 year old. Poliomyelitis is a virus that attacks the nerves that control your muscles. In Dergin’s case, he lost the control of his left leg and some of the control of his right. He spent much of his childhood in German hospitals undergoing treatments to attempt to restore the full use of his legs… to no avail. Always a survivor, Dergin learned to walk on his hands.
When he was twelve years old a cousin brought him the movie “Breakin'”. About two-thirds into the movie is a solo performed by Eddie “Handyman” Rodriguez, a break dancer who has no use of his legs. He performs on fore-arm crutches as well as some dizzying floor work. Dergin was inspired by the dance to perfect his own dancing style on crutches.
Over time Dergin became immersed in the break dancing & HipHop scene in Germany. At first he danced in youth clubs and dance studios. Like all breakdancers, he took a street name: “Stix”. In 1990 Dergin formed his first HipHop dance group, (Da F.U.N.K funky united nation krew) with eight people.
Dergin branched out on his own starting in 1992, when he toured Germany with Run DMC. He took first place in a European street dance contest in 1993. During 1994 and 1995 he toured for FILA and Champion.
“It is so much fun to play with the Crutches!,” Tokmak wrote on YouTube. “It is incredible what you can do if you just open your mind. NO LIMITS WITH CRUTCHES.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: You don’t want to miss the video at the link above!!!
It’s that attitude that impressed directors of Cirque du Soleil back in 2004, when Tokmak auditioned for the role of “Limping Angel” in the show Varekai, according to the biography on his website. Though he was intimidated by the role at first, showrunners were convinced of his talent and cast him in the role, which he learned in under two months.
He was performing in Berlin when a colleague called and told him about the opening for the “Limping Angel” role in Cirque du Soleil’s show, Varekai. Nervous and hopeful, he contacted Cirque and was sent a tape of the show. After viewing the Solo on Crutches, he felt more confident: after all, he had been dancing on crutches most of his life!
If he can overcome his disadvantages, your excuses are invalid! To learn more about this amazing man, check out his website