Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Luca Patuelli, here’s what you should know about Luca…
Luca “LazyLegz” Patuelli was born with arthrogryposis, a rare congenital disorder that affects the muscles and joints. Despite having underdeveloped legs that require him to walk with assistance and 16 surgeries to date to try to correct his condition, Luca has become somewhat of an icon in the B-boy (breakdancing) community and an inspiration for many through his touring, speaking, and television appearances.
Having showed an interest in B-boying at 15 after a surgery ended hopes of a skateboarding career, Luca began learning the skills necessary to express himself in dance, while adapting his physical condition to the art form. After a move back to his native Montreal, Quebec, Canada, after high school, Luca immersed himself in the breakin’ and hip-hop communities to hone his craft, eventually joining Canadian breakdance crew, Illmatic Styes. His first nationwide television appearance was on the “Today Show” in September 2006 – a year later, “America’s Got Talent” contacted him. The television (and subsequent internet) exposure launched a new chapter in his career and allowed him to reach new audiences around the world.
“I’ve learned that life is all about attitude,” he says. “If you want to do something then you’re just gonna have to go out and do it, you know? I think there’s two types of people in this world – there’s people that expect things to come to them, or expect that the world is created for them. And then there’s the other people that will say, ‘fuck it,’ (pardon my French), and they’ll say, ‘I’m gonna find my way around these obstacles and find a way to do what I want to do and not expect it to come to me.’”
The dedication and commitment that has defined his success didn’t materialize suddenly, Luca says. It was instilled in him at an early age.
“I think a lot of it had to do with my parents’ encouragement,” he says. “Anything I ever wanted to do as a child, whether it was dangerous or not, my parents never had a question and said, ‘No he can’t do it, he’s handicapped.’ It was never a question, it was always like, ‘Okay, let’s see how he can do this.’”
Today, as Luca’s career as a dancer grows, he makes a point to give back and inspire others who may gain from hearing his story, both as a speaker and as a performer. He also helps highlight the accomplishments of other physically-challenged dancers in his new group, “ILL-Abilities.”
“ILL-Abilities is an international crew comprised of differently-abled dancers,” he says. “The whole concept behind ILL-Abilities is to take the “dis” out of disability and replace it with “ill.” You see, in the hip-hop world, “ill” means bad, or means sick [in a positive connotation]. . . . So what I’ve done is I’ve put these dancers that are differently-abled but are “sick” [positive], but in the hip-hop world you’re like, ‘Yo, they are sick!’ So, they are incredibly amazing dancers.”
As he likes to say, it’s all about taking the bad and turning it into good.
Below is the video of Johnny interviewing Luca.
Download audio MP3 file (Right-click and choose “Save Target As…” or “Save File As…”)
Transcript coming soon