Monday, July 14, 2014

Lil Buck

The local papers started mentioning Lil Buck (born Charles Riley) last month when he performed with the New York City Ballet.  Until then, I hadn't heard of him.  So I started looking around.  He's been hiding in plain sight for a long time and definitely deserves some attention.

Lil Buck was raised in Memphis, where he learned a dance style called Memphis Jookin and then combined that with his classical dance training.  The result -- applied to everything from rap to classical music to whims of the moment -- is energetic, virtuosic and beyond description.  He has blended two forms of dance to make something new that connects with audiences of all kinds.

He and cellist Yo-Yo Ma work together a good bit and have developed a specialty in performing Camille Saint-Saens' "The Swan" together.  AYoutube video of this performance is posted below.

There are many other Lil Buck videos on Youtube.  I have been going back to find more for a while now.  Some that I liked were another performance of "The Swan" at the 2011 Vail International Dance Festival; "Lil Buck at TEDxTeen2014;" "Lil Buck -- En Noir," and a short documentary, "Lil Buck Goes to China" in which the dancer puts himself in context in a very different place and performs to great acclaim.  All worth a look.

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