Dancing on Crutches

Henry Ford said “if you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” There are few words more damaging to a person facing adversity than hearing their trusted doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, family members, or friends suggest “you have no hope” or “you will never get better” The only worse statements are when a survivor believes “I will never get better” or”I wish I were dead.” A positive attitude is contagious but so is a negative one. Negative thoughts and self-doubt should be eradicated as quickly as possible.

At age one, he was stricken with polio and left partially paralyzed below the waist. However, polio did not stop Dergin Tomak from achieving has dreams. He owns a dance studio, teaches disabled students to dance, and danced in more than 2,000 performances of Varekai by Cirque du Soleil. As the following videos illustrate, Tomak has overcome significant adversity since he was first diagnosed with polio.

The Moves

Studio Performance

Cirque du Soleil Performance


  • If you had an incurable situation, what would you do?
  • How do you remain motivated when everybody else says  “you cannot?”
  • How do you remain focused when reaching your goal is difficult, time consuming, and may, at times, seem impossible?


Click here to read another Beyond Adversity post.

Thanks to Wendy for sharing the story with me, Dergin Tomak for showing us that disability does not have to be a limitation, Cirque du Soleil which allowed one of its performances to be filmed, YouTube where I linked to the video, and all the other people who contributed to the picture and video I used in this post.

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