Nfld. & Labrador

'It's incredible': World-renowned b-boy Lazylegz breakdances in N.L.

Luca (Lazylegz) Patuelli is a breakdancer with a muscle and joint disorder. He's touring stages across Newfoundland with his motivational story.

Hip-hop dancer impresses reporter during dance practice in Corner Brook

Luca Patuelli shows off his breakdancing moves during a practice at the Arts and Culture in Corner Brook. He's currently touring the province with his own show. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

"I'm going to need to warm up and take my leg braces off before I can do any of those moves."

That's what Luca (Lazylegz) Patuelli says when I meet him at the empty Arts and Culture Centre in Corner Brook at 2:30 in the afternoon.

He just got off an international flight. I can tell he's tired.

Patuelli puts in his earbuds and pulls up the hood of his sweatshirt. His head is down as he leans on his crutches and walks across the stage.

He looks like he's forgotten that I am on the stage filming him with my video camera and my GoPro. He's totally in the zone.

Warm up

A short man with large biceps and triceps, Patuelli walks to the middle of the stage and drops his crutches. He starts stretching his wrists, arms, neck and then grabs his legs and moves them across his body.

He's warming up his very stiff joints.

"I was born with a neuromuscular disorder called arthrogryposis," he explains.

"It's a bone and joint disorder that also affects the muscular growth. What makes arthrogryposis so rare is that it can affect different people in different parts of their body. I have it affecting me primarily in my legs and in my shoulder."

Patuelli smiles for the camera while holding his body up during a breakdancing routine. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Then, out of nowhere, Patuelli starts spinning his body around on the ground, forcing his legs under him, and goes into a full set of pushups.

Next, he attempts head stands.

First, he slides the top of his head across the stage and tries to lift his body up. First attempt is a no go. Then another attempt and another attempt.

He crawls over to his crutches, lifts himself up and looks over at me.

"I think I'm ready to try a few moves now."

Head stands

The music booms from the house speakers and Patuelli throws his body into a technical breakdancing routine with spins, quick steps and head stands.

It's incredible!

"What I do is breaking. The beauty with breaking and hip hop is being unique. There are a lot of movements I'm physically not capable to do because of the way my legs were born and because of my shoulders, but I am able to create my own unique style using the strength of my arms."

B-boy Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli uses his leg braces to throw himself into flips and spins. 3:01

Lazylegz got his b-boy name over 15 years ago from his fellow dancers.

"That's who I am," he said.

He shoves the crutches deeper into the stage floor and lifts his whole body up into the air. He spins one crutch up like a baton, catches it, throws the crutches behind him and pushes his body into another full breakdancing routine.

'Motivational entertainment'

Patuelli is taking his show to stages across Newfoundland this month.

"I like to call it motivational entertainment," he said.

"It's a mix of motivational speaking where I share my story about how I overcame my adversity and discovered my passion, and projects I'm working on and raising awareness about people who are differently-abled. At the same time, I do have several dance performances in the piece. It's also very interactive."

Patuelli is a world-renowned dancer with performances on Ellen and So, You Think You Can Dance?

Luca Patuelli smiles when he talks about fronting his own motivational show. He's currently touring the province. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

But this is the first time he's fronted his own show.

"This is my first official Lazylegz tour. I have performed, I have joined tours, I have been part of tours — but this is the first time venues have booked me and I have a huge flyer and people have to pay for tickets to come in.

"For me, to have my own venue, ya! that's pretty cool," he giggles.

Patuelli is sweaty and out of breath when I turn off the cameras.

I shake his hand, twice, telling him how impressed I am by his physical ability and inspiring words.

"Yo, I can make this work. That is what I try to do. I have fun with it too. I'm very honest about it."

About the Author

Colleen Connors reports on western Newfoundland from CBC's bureau in Corner Brook.

Colleen Connors