Birthday: September 17, 1989
Location: California, United States
Joined ILL-Abilities: 2010
Personal motto: I am unstoppable!
Tommy Guns Ly was born in California, USA. California is known to be home to some of the world’s most influential bboys and this is how he was introduced to the dance.
Tommy’s interest in bboying started in High School at the age of 16. He began to practice the dance together with friends after they watched some VHS tapes of bboys from California. Like many others who started this way, he would imitate the moves seen on videos. Since he was living in a small town, taking bboy workshops was not an option. During this time, Tommy started to dream about traveling the world like the dancers he saw in the videos.
At 18 years old, Tommy moved to San Francisco after completing high school and continued to pursue his bboy dream. Shortly after moving, in 2004, his dream became a nightmare when he was diagnosed with Cancer, Osteo Sarcoma (malignant bone tumor), in his right his knee. Tommy was given the choice to amputate his leg or have a bone replacement operation after having 3 months of chemotherapy treatment. Tommy, with the thought of being able to dance again, made the decision to amputate his leg. After the amputation surgery, he continued with another 3 months sessions of chemotherapy.
Tommy never stopped thinking about his dream. Just being able to dance again motivated him to get well and to continue training with his friends. In 2005, less than a year later after his amputation surgery, Tommy joined the legendary crew Renegade Rockers, Est. 1983. Renegade Rockers are known globally for their influence in power moves and style.
In 2007, Tommy helped to form ILL-Abilities with LazyLegz and Kujo and their first performance together was at Red Bull BC One, L.A. Tommy is inspired by his own crew members from ILL-Abilities, and believes they can inspire others to continue their passions and to live their dreams.
In 2012, Tommy was casted as a main role in the Hong Kong movie “The Way We Dance” which was released in HK movie theatres in 2013.
Tommy Guns Ly now lives in Japan and continues his passion to develop his dance. Tommy’s personal motto is “I Am Unstoppable.” Tommy was able to live his dream because he never started to think it was impossible. After his amputation, Tommy used creative thinking to re-imagine old ideas and discover new possibilities to create his dance movements. He believes if people focus their energy on what they can do rather than what they can’t do, then they will discover infinite possibilities to surpass their limitations.
What are some of your inspirations to continue dancing?
My inspiration to develop in my dance, comes from many different things like music, watching other styles of dances, art, personal fitness (bboying is high physical level dance that requires a lot of conditioning and training), being part of a global community, just to name a few. I continue to dance because I love it and I just really enjoy doing it. I also love the feeling of performing for an audience on stage.
Your most memorable moment with ILL-Abiliites?
One of the most memorable moments from 2012 is when we first toured our “No Limits” theatre show with Breakin’ Convention in the UK. The responses from the audiences were phenomenal and very inspiring to continue to perform together more.
If you can be any animal, what would you be? Why?
I would be an cat, because they sleep all day but somehow they are always physically fit.
What are some of your other interests? Besides dance...
I am interested in travel/people/culture, photography, drawing/painting, calligraphy, typography, graffiti, graphic art/design, music, architecture, food, and gadgets/technology.