Watch: These Differently-Abled Dancers Are Pushing the Limits of Breaking
There’s a tradition in hip-hop culture of reclaiming negative words as positive ones. That’s why you might hear things like “nasty” or “bad” as compliments. The same goes for ILL-Abilities, a breaking crew comprised of differently-abled dancers:
“The ‘ill’ does not refer to ‘sick’ or ‘unwell’ but rather to incredible, amazing, intricate, talent,” they write on their website. “Rather than seeing the negative limitations of ‘disability,’ this crew focuses on their positive, or ‘ill,’ abilities.”
The crew defines “ill-ability” as “creating advantages from disadvantages” and “an adaptation of power, strength and creativity.” It’s clear from the video what they mean: The crew isn’t just breaking, they’re pushing the form by tapping into what makes them different.
The result is inspiring, and often mind-blowing. One dancer can do a series push-ups with neither of his feet touching the ground. Another seems to be able to accomplish everything most break dancers do on two legs with only one leg.
The ILL-Abilities dancers also teach breaking workshops for people of all abilities, opening the doors of this breathtaking form to everyone.