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Wer ist Luigi

LuigiLuigi is sometimes referred to as „the father of modern jazz dance“ since he is credited with creating the first formal jazz dance technique.

There are numerous articles about Luigi and at least a couple of amateur films. Since it’s several decades „old“ and is such a foundational technique, and since there aren’t many qualified teachers it’s not as popular today.

The strength of the technique is that it imparts the most solid fundamentals from which you can do anything. Luigi (Louis Facciuto) was a young professional dancer when he moved to California to further his career.

A serious car accident left one side of him paralyzed and with very bad eyesight (double vision). Doctors said he wouldn’t recover, but in typical ‚hollywood hero‘ fashion, he was determined to dance again. When he was well enough, he went back to the studio and began doing work at the bar.

He got to where he could do ok, but when he tried to dance again on the floor, his disabilities robbed him of balance and coordination. Then it struck him: „If I can’t dance without the bar, I’ll take it with me!“ He was able to keep himself upright and poised by pushing down on an imaginary bar! Thus, „pushing down to go up“, pushing down with your arms on the space around you, lifting up from the crown of your head is an underlying paradigm of the Luigi technique (and so much dance in general).

When you releve‘, you aren’t simply using your calves, you are lifting up from your head and pushing down on the space, pushing on the „bar“. Perhaps the biggest component of the Luigi paradigm is „opposition“. This where you are using one side of our body to control the „extension“ of the opposite side.

You „pull away left to reach right“ for example. It harmonizes dance movement with natural body tendencies (e.g. walking: left foot front coincides with right arm front) and allowed Luigi to overcome his disabilities. This concept also places the body in optimum position for transitions and movement across the floor.

And one must always keep moving. Luigi would stumble and fall if he tried to hold a position. So, internally, he was constantly reaching up with his head, pushing down, reaching out, clenching muscles.