Let your smile change the world

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Today we celebrate the accomplishments of Powerful Human Luca, “Lazylegz” Patuelli. You may have seen Luca’s dance feats when he wow’ed global television audiences on Ellen DeGeneres a few years back. From his Ellen appearance, to his performance at the Vancouver Paralympic Opening Ceremonies to his founding of the ILL-Abilities dance team, Luca embodies his mantra, “No Excuses, No Limits.”

Luca was born with Arthrogryposis, a muscle disorder which affects his legs and shoulder and requires the use of crutches. From an early age, however, his energy and adventurous nature spurred him to try many activities and ultimately defy his physical limitations.

LucaAs Luca became an active adolescent, his curiosity and lack of fear instilled in him by his parents emboldened him to attempt skateboarding, an activity popular with all of his friends. Although he couldn’t stand on the board, he adapted by resting on his knees and pushing himself with his hands. In no time, he developed an arsenal of tricks that surpassed the abilities of many of his friends. “I remember that I always had the encouragement of those around me, especially my family,” remembers Luca. “If I expressed an interest in something, they would always tell me, ‘well let’s find a way to do it.’ My friends from the neighborhood always included me too, so it made me daring and excited to try new activities instead of feeling afraid or limited.” This confidence encouraged him to pursue many passions including skiing. His intrepid nature led him to use his skis like a sled; ultimately developing a unique style which even his friends started emulating.

When he was 15, a series of operations ended his ability to skate and so Luca turned to his next conquest – dancing. Drawing on a breakdancing/b-boy style, Luca used his crutches to master incredible feats; ultimately dancing with and without the aid of his crutches. It was this freedom of movement that ultimately gave Luca his self-assurance. “Dance gave me a confidence to believe in myself and accept – and even celebrate – my differences,” he recalls. It was this powerful philosophy that inspired him to create ILL-Abilities, an international b-boy crew whose mission is to encourage limitless possibilities to people of all ages and abilities. After performing together, the crew quickly realized their potential to inspire audience members with dance and positive attitudes. Now, the crew’s mission is to spread positive thinking by sharing their stories with motivational entertainment programs and theatrical dance performances worldwide.

The ILL-Abilities Crew

The popularity of their message inspired Luca to develop Projet RAD, an inclusive urban dance program offering opportunities for those with special needs to learn how to dance. They have developed a teacher’s curriculum and offer workshops and certifications to studios to teach others how to make studios and classes accessible to children with special needs. Currently there are six certified studios in Quebec and Luca is busy growing the program throughout Canada. Although extremely busy with an infant daughter, classes, his speaking engagements, performances, and appearances, Luca continues to motivate and empower individuals of all ages and abilities with his Powerful Human motto:

“We are all super stars and we believe that everyone has a talent in them whether they know it or not.”

Here’s to a very special Powerful Human, Luca “Lazylegz “ Patuelli.

For more information on Luca, Projet RAD, ILL-Abilities, and how you can get involved, please visit www.noexcusesnolimits.com or follow @bboylazylegz , @ILLAbilities, @Projet_RAD

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