AP PHOTOS: Turkish pole dance teacher moves classes online

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ISTANBUL (AP) — A pole dance instructor in Turkey has moved her studio to the internet as people across the world turn to online exercise classes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

To stem the spread of COVID-19, Turkey closed down sports facilities in March but Tuba Parlak’s students wanted to continue their lessons.

Using the video conferencing app Zoom, Parlak teaches the vigorous exercise from her studio in Istanbul’s hip Cihangir district. She limits her classes to five students as she did in the studio, and says Zoom has made it easier to critique her students’ moves with all video images lined up on her screen.

Some of Parlak’s students had poles installed at home, with a discount from a local pole manufacturer, and others are continuing with pole dance floor work. The classes, most of them advanced, are only available to students that Parlak already worked with.

Parlak, a former arts and culture journalist, started pole dancing in 2015 and turned her passion to full time profession. She says the pandemic, apart from taking her work online, has not altered her day-to-day because she already led an “isolated” life as an athlete.

Drop-out rates are high in this challenging exercise, Parlak says. Her students are looking forward to returning to the studio but it remains uncertain when Turkey will allow sports facilities to re-open.

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