Luigi is 88-years-old. On October 7th at the Apollo Theatre, he will receive a “Bessie,” a New York Dance and Performance award. The awards were established to "celebrate the unique creative voices of performing artists while providing the dance and performance community with an occasion to gather together in sorrow, in frustration, in anger, but ultimately in celebration."
Luigi has appeared in more than 40 films, including Singing in the Rain, An American in Paris, Annie Get Your Gun, The Band Wagon and White Christmas.
I stopped taking dance class after a car accident. He had been in one too, but he kept dancing and so I did too. I still feel welcome, he is teaching from a chair and I will take class from a wheelchair.
Now he has had a few strokes, and I am making my way back from a minor heart issue and a small stroke. Luigi wants me to come back to class. I know he is right, keep dancing, keep moving and keep laughing. The music will make it better. It’s funny how little pain you feel when music is coursing through your body and you are learning a new combination.
For over 50 years, Luigi has been “the teacher” for everyone who dances on or off-Broadway. His real name is Eugene Louis Faccuito—I had to look up his full name. We all just called him Luigi, a nickname he got from Gene Kelly. He is famous for his dancing and teaching famous dancers like Liza Minelli, but his studio at 68th and Broadway is full with “Chorus Line” folks. Everyone loves him and he will get you moving.