This article originally appeared in the Spring 2024 Life Without Limits issue of Showstopper Magazine.

Photography: James Chua, Design: Holly Childs

Meet ILL-Abilities, the dance crew formed by b-boy and motivational entertainer Luca “Lazylegs” Patuelli. A group that Luca formed to “create a supercrew or all-star team of some of the best dancers in the world that had different disabilities.” Starting in 2007, he found those dancers across five different continents at dance competitions, battles, and even viral dance videos. 

Sick /SIK/ noun. Amazing and Incredible

The name of the crew is a play on words that combines the dancers’ disabilities with hip hop terminology. “The word ‘ILL’ literally means ‘sick,’ but in the hip hop world, it means ‘amazing’ and ‘incredible,’” Luca explained the name’s origins. “So, ILL-Abilities means ‘amazing and incredible abilities.’ 

The Crew

ILL-Abilities is currently made up of eight b-boys from countries around the world who represent a variety of disabilities. The crew includes. Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli, Jacob “Kujo” Lyons, Sergio “Checho” Miranda Carvajal, Redouan “Redo” Ait Chitt, Jungsoo “Krops” Lee, Samuel “Samuka” Da Silveira Lima, Lucas “Perninha” Machado, “Junior” Bosila Banya. These dancers were each professionals in their own right before they found the crew and still perform solo. “Each dancer has a different disability and has adapted themselves to become some of the world’s most influential breakers and in the worldwide breakin’ circuit,” Luca said.

Worldwide Motivational Entertainment

ILL-Abilities has performed in over 25 countries since their founding members made their debut in 2008. They refer to what they do as “motivational entertainment.” This is about dance and public speaking to entertain audiences with their dance skills and uniquely adapted styles and to share their “No excuses. No limits.” message. Their performances include dance, interactive moments, and sharing their stories to motivate and inspire but also to give them “an opportunity to see people with disabilities in a more positive way.”

Each member of ILL-Abilities has a completely different style of dance that they balance off of each other during performances. “We also rely a lot on mirroring movement together,” Luca shared, “so we will mirror each other in the moment to create a connection in our performance. Sometimes this is improvised in the moment and other times it is planned.”

“We want to provide them with hope.” 

One of the ILL-Abilities performances that Luca is most proud of took place in a juvenile detention center in Tokyo, Japan in 2019. “…In the beginning of the presentation, the energy in the room was so ‘cold,’ ‘stiff,’ and severe that you could hear a pin drop. By the end of the presentation, we had all juveniles with the guards dancing together. It was a beautiful moment that showed us the power of dance and the best of humanity coming together,” he shared. The group works to “give [their] audiences energy to believe in themselves,” and that is evident no matter where the dance takes them.

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Veronica Good has been with Showstopper Magazine since 2016. When she isn't keeping you updated on the latest trends, she is at home with her many pets or probably playing The Sims 4. Veronica has a BA in English and an MA in writing from Coastal Carolina University. She is also a writer of fiction and poetry, and her work can be found in Archarios, Tempo, and Scapegoat.