Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Canadian disability dance group wants to show disabled people have few limits

From CTV Montreal:

MONTREAL, Canada — Luca Patuelli was born 27 years ago with a rare muscle disorder that limits what his legs can do, but nothing can limit his ambitions.

Patuelli (pictured) copes with arthrogryposis, a condition that affects about one in 3,000 newborns and has forced him to walk with crutches.

Countless operations haven't slowed down his dreams of dancing and he now heads a Montreal crew of dancers known as Ill-abilities.

The dancing has not only entertained and inspired others, it has also brought people together.

"For me, the experience not only created a life-long friendship with all these guys but it also created something that's going to change the world," said Patuelli.

And his friends share that enthusiasm with the man who calls himself Lazylegs.

"This group really shows that it has something," said Redouan "Redo" Ait Chitt, an anything-but-disabled dancer from The Netherlands. "It can inspire people and it's a great thing to do."

The Ill-abilities dance crew has blasted away preconceptions about disability and taught people that many obstacles that might initially appear insurmountable can be overcome with some effort.

The crew not only performs in competitions but also visits schools and rehab centres to demonstrate the rewards of effort and dedication.

In one recent show young Francis Laforet left his wheelchair to join the crew on stage. Luca dubbed the lad "Little Lazy Legs."

Patuelli's family remain his biggest supporters.

"Something is happening, a movement with all these kids. All this work is paying off," said Laura Patuelli, Luca's mom.

His father is equally blown away.

"Luca invited us in Vancouver last year. We thought it was a show and when we got there and he was one of the main figures at the paralympics it was incredible!," said Flavio Patuelli, Luca's father.

However Luca still gets ribbed by his brother about his growing notoriety.

"Luca walks into restaurants if they can't give him a table he's like, ‘do you know who I am?' It only happened once. The whole Sinatra thing, threatens to buy the restaurant and kick everybody out," said Stephano Patuelli, Luca's brother, while laughing.

"I can't imagine my success without my family," said Luca.