Push Past Your Limits
What do you do to push past your limits? Do you go to more pole classes? Do you train with more advanced pole dancers?
What would you do if you were told you would never be able to dance again? Would you still try to push past your limits then?
That’s exactly what happened to Ozge Uraz Kum …
When Ozge contacted me and told me her story, it really touched me so much I had to share it with all of you. Maybe you’re going through a pole slump, or maybe, like Ozge, you have a physical condition you want to overcome. Read her story below. Hopefully you’ll find the inspiration to press through and push past whatever is limiting you.
I am so happy to have followers from all over the world! I notice you’re from Turkey. How did you find out about Pole Dance Nation?
I came across your Pole Dancer book during one of my routine Google searches looking for everything related to pole dance! Love the way you approach and respect both sides of the pole world. Seeing that you continue the same attitude on your Instagram page, encouraging and embracing all styles, cultures and skill levels, I started to frequent your page.
Here in America, pole still faces a lot of stigmatism. How is pole dance viewed in Turkey? Is it viewed as a sport? Or more as a form of adult entertainment?
It is a bit ambivalent. The thing is, we don’t have strip clubs. We never did. People do have some vague images from movies, but pole dance became mainstream with pole dance fitness studios. Some women come to the studio to learn a sexy dance. They are surprised that it is actually a crazy sport! On the other hand, some come just for the fitness aspect. Still, most of our students hide their passion from family members and colleagues.
How did you get into pole dance?
One morning I woke up and it was the only thing I wanted to do. Never watched a video before, didn’t know any of the pole stars, had no idea if there were studios offering pole dance classes, nothing. I asked everyone about it like a crazy woman.
All of a sudden, my lifelong friend Zeynep Vargil, opened up a WOW Classes studio with Joy G Wild, who learned pole dancing in Australia. I enrolled as one of the first students.
When you were 14, you had spinal surgery where your spine was immobilized. What happened?
I was taking ballet classes and planning a formal education in dance when my teacher realized I had a big curve on my back. We found out I had a 50 degree scoliosis and it was still progressing. In a matter of few months it became life threatening.
I had a 9 hour surgery when my spine was fused and immobilized with rods and screws. It was a success. The curve was straight. I woke up safe and sound. But it was also a major trauma. “No back bending, so side bending, no twisting,” the doctor said. “No dancing. Definitely no ballet.”
How did you push past the limitations of your body and get into pole?
During my adolescence I found it hard to accept the fact that I couldn’t pursue my passion. I was even exempt from PE classes. By the time I was in my late twenties I had made peace with my situation. I had my limits and that was it.
When I started pole dancing, my mood would fluctuate dramatically between cherishing every little achievement, and feeling insufficient. I had several injuries because I pushed myself to try moves outside of my physical capacity. And it was not only due to lack of flexibility. I had, and still have, many mental blocks about getting out of my comfort zone, built in through many years of inactivity.
Physical development required a lot of patience and research, in my case. As the bulk of my body wouldn’t cooperate, I had to isolate and strengthen what is intact without putting pressure on my rods.
My teacher, Joy, safely encouraged me and supported me through the whole process. Slowly and steadily my back grew strong. My chronic pain went away. My physical therapist, seeing me after 2 years, was shocked with how well I am doing now, in comparison to before.
What would you say to encourage other people who may have had a similar situation, where they feel limited by the constraints of their body and unable to physically perform activities they enjoy?
Now that I have been poling for 3.5 years, I recognize pole has something for everyone. Even for me. Maybe I can never do a Rainbow Marchenko. But keeping my body straight is never a problem, or pointing my toes!
Above all else, pole dance is a form of expression. Everyone has strong and weak points. You find and focus on your strengths during your pole journey. As the saying goes: if all birds sang the same song, the woods will be a very boring place.
What made you decide to open up a pole studio?
Before opening up the studio, I had already quit my full time job and was instructing WOW Classes.
Istanbul is a big city located in between Europe and Asia. Our studio was on the European side. It was hard for the pole dancers who lived on the Asian side to get there in heavy traffic. At some point I was giving a lot of private classes at home. My husband became annoyed because he had to stay in one room all the time. So … I opened up a franchise of WOW.
How has pole dance changed your life?
I grew stronger, sexier, more confident with myself. I got a job that I actually like – what a luxury! Met a lot of wonderful women, made many friends.The downside of it, I lost my attention and interest in mostly everything else. LOL.
Who are some of your pole influences?
Cleo the Hurricane! I like the way she puts attitude on top of everything. And she has great taste in music.
If someone was thinking about giving pole dance a try, what are the 3 best reasons you could give them to get to their nearest pole studio?
It is fun, empowering and transforms your body and soul.
Hope you liked reading about Ozge and how she pushes past her limits and I hope you find the courage to do the same.
Visit Ozge’s studio HERE.
Visit Ozge’s pole blog HERE.