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Kujo

BBOY KUJO

"NO EXCUSES, NO LIMITS"

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Jacob "Kujo" Lyons

Birthday: October 21, 1976
Location: Burbank, California USA
Height: 5’4”
Weight: 135 lbs
Joined ILL-Abilities: 2007
Personal motto: Dance allows me to become superhuman!

Biography

Kujo was born and raised in Los Angeles, and still lives in Burbank, located in the San Fernando Valley area. He was born with 100% sensorineural deafness in his right ear, and suffered several instances of conductive hearing loss in his left ear. These ranged from severe ear infections in early childhood, to concussions sustained in adolescence - some directly from accidents made while practicing or even battling!

This mixed hearing loss left him largely unable to communicate verbally, and he endured major speech impediments, including an awful stutter, throughout most of his childhood. The inability to pronounce certain simple sounds was overcome through years of speech therapy. The stutter, on the other hand, was entirely overcome through the confidence Kujo gained while learning to dance.

Kujo started dancing at the age of 15, and had tremendous difficulties hearing the music. This forced him to (over)compensate by focusing more on strength and power moves, as opposed to the musicality of toprock and footwork. Kujo instantly became recognizable due to his wild personality (and the hair) and his incredibly dangerous and difficult moves. He and his crew, Soul Control, quickly became famous as power move innovators, first in California and soon, worldwide. They were primarily known for introducing an obscure move called the air flare to the entire world, as well as almost every conceivable air flare variation and combination. Air flares are now an integral part of almost every bboy’s vocabulary.

Roughly 10 years into Kujo’s bboy career, as he began teaching and judging more, and competing less, he tasked himself with becoming a more complete bboy. But this involved confronting his difficulties in hearing the music, and he found a number of ways to get around this. These included feeling vibrations through the floor, watching the other dancers clap their hands or bob their heads to the beat, and even memorizing the music in private (while playing it quite loudly), which helps tremendously with choreography.

In addition to sustaining a 21-year career as a professional bboy, Kujo is now an award-winning choreographer, the founder and artistic director of Lux Aeterna Dance Company, and a freelance circus acrobat/aerialist. He also serves as the head choreographer for ILL-Abilities.

Get to know.. Kujo!

What are your dance styles?
Breakin’ - the original hip hop dance form. I’ve also trained in modern dance, ballet, gymnastics, and various circus arts: aerial straps, Chinese pole, flying pole, hand to hand, body to body, and more.

What are some of your inspirations to continue dancing?
I’m inspired to continue dancing precisely because dancing can inspire anyone who witnesses it!

Your most memorable moment with ILL-Abiliites?
Our first trip to Japan, where we performed with Arashi on 24-Hour TV. Everything about the trip was unbelievable. The treatment, the food, and the performance - live in front of 10,000 people, and televised in front of 30 million people!

Where would you like to perform next with ILL-Abilities?
I recently gave my first solo motivational speech to the Australia Council for the Arts in Sydney, in which I highlighted the work that ILL-Abilities does. I’d love to return with the rest of the crew someday!

“If anyone makes the impossible possible, it’s Kujo!”

Niels “Storm” Robitzky