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Luca ‘Lazylegz’ Patuelli brings motivational dance tour to Newfoundland

Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli is touring the province beginning Tuesday with his “motivational entertainment” show — a unique combination of dance and inspirational speech. — Mikael Theimer photo
Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli is touring the province beginning Tuesday with his “motivational entertainment” show — a unique combination of dance and inspirational speech. — Mikael Theimer photo

That’s the mantra Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli lives by, and he’s bringing it to Newfoundland.

Patuelli begins his islandwide tour Tuesday with what he calls a “motivational entertainment” show — a unique combination of dance and inspirational speech.

His energetic shows include several dance performances, plenty of audience interaction, and a focus on sharing his story of determination and empowerment.

Born with arthrogryposis, a neuromuscular disorder affecting the bones and joints of the body, he’s had 16 surgeries since he was seven months old.

Despite facing physical challenges, Patuelli came up with adaptations enabling him to participate in a wide range of intense physical activities such as football, rock climbing, surfing, skiing, swimming, and baseball.

“We often get caught up in trying to do things like other people and feeling that we’re not doing things the right way,” he said in a telephone interview with The Telegram while en route to perform a headlining show in Barcelona, Spain over the weekend.

“I think that with the message ‘no excuses, no limits’ I’m not trying to tell people that there’s no limits in life — in reality everyone faces some sort of challenge in their lives, whether it’s currently, whether it’s been in the past, or whether it’s something that is just ongoing.

“We don’t have to look at those challenges like defeat. We don’t have to focus on the things that we can’t do — we should focus on the things that we can do and remind ourselves that there really is no wrong way of doing certain things — it’s really just about learning to do things our own way.”

Patuelli discovered breakdancing when he was 15 and hasn’t stopped since.

“Rather than quitting and rather than feeling discouraged, ask ourselves, ‘How can we do this one thing our own way?’ and let’s figure it out and let’s encourage each other.”
— Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli

He uses his crutches as extensions of his arms and over the past 13 years, “Lazylegz” has developed a career as a professional dancer, performing in a wide variety of international dance events and on the Ellen Degeneres Show, So You Think You Can Dance Canada and The Today Show, among others.

“Often when we want to try something and we don’t succeed immediately, but the person next to us might succeed at one thing that we’ve been trying for a long time … then we get discouraged and we’re like, ‘Oh, well I’m not good enough’ or ‘I don’t have it’.

“Then we end up feeling discouraged and we end up feeling that we want to quit.

“Rather than quitting and rather than feeling discouraged, ask ourselves, ‘How can we do this one thing our own way?’ and let’s figure it out and let’s encourage each other.”

He said that’s essentially the message he puts forth in his shows.

The tour begins in Corner Brook Tuesday and stops in Stephenville, Grand Falls-Windsor, Gander, and concludes in St. John’s with several public engagements between Oct. 2-6.

The tour is the result of what organizers are calling an “unprecedented collaboration” between the performing arts and health sectors.

The tour is presented by the Arts and Culture Centre and Neighbourhood Dance Works in partnership with Eastern Health, the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities, and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. It’s supported by the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, Easter Seals, Memorial University, The Wellness Coalition, Recreation NL, Rare Disease Foundation, and L’Arche Avalon.

Tickets for the shows in central can be purchased at www.artsandculturecentre.com and for St. John’s at neighbourhooddanceworks.com.

Meanwhile, Patuelli said he’s never been to the province so he’s looking forward to exploring with his wife and daughter during downtime between performances, and he’s already made plans to get ‘Screeched In’.

juanita.mercer@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @juanitamercer_

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