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New online workout teaching young wheelchair users circus and dance moves

Jacksons Lane Presents Circus/Dance Tutorial by World-Leading Acrobat using a Wheelchair

An online workout teaching young wheelchair users circus and dance moves has launched online, thanks to a collaboration between Jacksons Lane, a north London arts centre, Hackney Ark’s HIT Squad, therapists working to improve access to leisure activities for young people in Hackney with additional needs, and Extraordinary Bodies, the UK’s leading integrated circus company.


 The video is by Dergin Tokmak (stage name Stix), a world-leading acrobat and performer who uses crutches and a wheelchair. The German artist has toured with Cirque du Soleil, reached the finals of Germany’s Got Talent and inspired millions of people across the world through his popular YouTube channel.

Jacksons Lane’s lockdown circus channels, mini-lessons JL Shorts and long-form tutorials Quarantine Sessions, caught the eye of specialist physiotherapists from Hackney Ark’s HIT Squad, who approached the arts centre in search of circus resources to help wheelchair-using young people during lockdown. Jacksons Lane were happy to oblige, programming a video from longstanding associates Extraordinary Bodies.

The class was devised and recorded over the weekend and is now available to watch on Jacksons Lane’s YouTube channel. The lesson was put together especially for Hackney Ark, Centre for young people with disabilities, to share with and inspire the young people they work with. 

“We’re thrilled Dergin offered to contribute – he’s amazing!” said Holly Wallis, coordinator of Jacksons Lane’s youth group JL Circus, who has programmed the Quarantine Sessions.

Tokmak’s video is directed by Billy Alwen, Co-Artistic Director of Extraordinary Bodies, a circus company which integrates D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled circus artists. Extraordinary Bodies is the alliance between show-makers Cirque Bijou and award-winning diversity and equality practitioners Diverse City.

Tokmak performs in Extraordinary Bodies’ pioneering show What Am I Worth? made in collaboration with 150 marginalised voices from across the UK and Ireland. The show dives headfirst into the worlds of seven extraordinary bodies, all wondering how they stack up in a society whose measurement of human value cuts some people out. The company is currently working on a digital project around What Am I Worth?

Page last modified: 12/06/20

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