In the hip-hop world, attitude is everything. And no one has more swagger than Ill-Abilities, a mixed-ability b-boy crew. This all-star team with members from all over the world is ready to tear Miami stages apart in A New Definition of Dance: Featuring Ill-Abilities, which consists of a dance workshop November 8 and a performance November 9.
“Ill-Abilities is an all-star supercrew comprised of the best dancers in the world who are differently abled… In the breaking world, there are lots of competitions, and that’s where I met dancers from all over the world who were differently abled,” says Luca Patuelli, the founder and manager of Ill-Abilities who created the crew in 2007. “What we really focus on is not necessarily our disabilities but our abilities, and what we can do and not what we can’t do.”
Dancing for nearly two decades, Patuelli, whose dance nickname is “LazyLegz,” has developed an idiosyncratic breaking style that incorporates his crutches. Born with the neuromuscular disorder arthrogryposis, Patuelli discovered breakdancing at 15. He loved it so much that he even continued after a serious injury. He says, “I broke my leg in my first dance competition. I was in a full-body cast after surgery. After I got the cast off, I started dancing again.”
Ill-Abilities has eight members, hailing from Canada, South Korea, Chile, Brazil, the Netherlands, and the U.S. On Thursday, the crew will lead a workshop for those of all abilities and proficiency levels. Six members of the crew will teach and two will support the participants. While dance workshops can be anxiety-provoking, Patuelli assures that the crew will make accommodations for everyone.
“We want to make sure everyone gets involved. It’s not necessarily about dance, breaking, or hip-hop, but more about movement and discovering yourself and feeling comfortable in your body. No matter what age or ability, you can participate in the workshop. It’s a non-intimidating approach and we allow the participants to help direct it,” he says.
For Friday’s theatrical fusion performance, titled Disconnect, Ill-Abilities will portray each crew member’s personal journey for the audience. Patuelli explains, “Disconnect interprets our life stories through movement and shows the connections between us as a crew and as individuals and also the disconnects we face within society.”
Patuelli describes how hip-hop provides the members of his crew an arena to achieve mastery and find community. “Our whole lives, we have faced adversities through bullying, intimidation, loneliness, and depression, but we have overcome through this passion we have for hip-hop and music,” he says. “Everyone in Ill-Abilities is a huge promoter and advocate for dance to help with mental health, to help you feel good… [Hip-hop] allows us to encourage ourselves and push ourselves to the next step beyond our limits.”
Ill-Abilities Dance Workshop. 6:30 p.m. Thursday, November 8, at Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-547-5414; miamidadecountyauditorium.org. Admission is free with registration at miamidadearts.org.
A New Definition of Dance Featuring Ill-Abilities. 8 p.m. Friday, November 9, at Miami-Dade County Auditorium 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-547-5414; miamidadecountyauditorium.org. Tickets cost $7 to $17 via ticketmaster.com.