Luigi Jazz

An Ambassador of Jazz, A Body Doctor, Jazz Master... LUIGI.

He is an inspirational man with a story of struggle and achievement.

Luigi, born Eugene Louis Faccuito, was gifted at a young age. He grew up the eighth of eleven children in Ohio, where he won talent shows for his singing, dancing and acrobatics. He was drafted into the Navy in WWII at 18 years old. When he arrived home, he was going to attend school to become a lawyer, but had his heart and mind set on the stage. So he moved to Los Angeles with big hopes and dreams. At the age of 21, he took his first ballet class.

About three months after his move, Luigi was in a near fatal car accident. He sustained a basal skull fracture, and was left with paralysis down one side of his body. Doctors said there was little hope of recovery, as he slipped into a deep coma.

But Luigi recalls an inner voice he heard: "Never stop moving kid, if you stop... you're dead."

When Luigi woke up from the coma, the doctors broke the news: He would never walk again. Luigi responded, "I don't want to walk. I'm going to dance."

Luigi's desire to MOVE began with stretching exercises, a routine that - inch by inch - led him to understanding how to control his body (which now seemed foreign to him). He learned:

1. To "always put the body in the right position"

2. To "feel from the inside out"

For a year, Luigi worked on his strengthening and regaining control of his body. A frustrating, tireless effort. He never gave up; he never stopped believing. Eventually, he was finally able to stand and move enough to where he could take a dance class. Still working through the troubles of paralysis one one side, he stayed focused on his body, his balance and inner strength.

He auditioned for MGM's On The Town with Gene Kelley and Frank Sinatra, unsure of what the result would be. He got the job. And that led to 40 more films: Annie Get Your Gun, Singin' in the Rain, White Christmas...

During the waiting periods on set, Luigi continued his stretching to keep his body limber. He didn't want a set back from all of his progress. One day, he noticed the other dancers on set started following him. Maybe there is something to this stretching routine?

In 1951 Luigi taught a "jazz class." Dancers adored his method. Eventually, he opened "The First World Jazz Centre."

Luigi is famous for telling dancers to feel their way through moves to prevent injuries. He also knew and taught, "If you keep doing things right long enough, they'll get better--right. But, if you keep doing things wrong long enough, they'll feel right--wrong."

Luigi's Jazz Centre is located on 48 West 68th Street in New York, NY.

Dancers and dance teachers all over the world recognize the true strength and calmness Luigi brings to the dance world. Inner peace. Control. Patience.

But most importantly: "Never stop moving kid."

For more information on Luigi: Click here

WATCH: Video of Francis Roach teaching Luigi's method!

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