'Astonishing': Memphis jookin' dancer Lil' Buck wows audience at New York festival

When Memphis jookin' master Lil Buck last appeared on this blog, he was the star of a viral video in which he demonstrated the distinctively elegant form of street dancing to the music of Camille Saint-Saëns' "The Swan," accompanied by cello virtuoso Yo Yo Ma. Since then, Lil Buck has continued to move jookin' beyond the realm of parking-lot battles and underground DVDs, most recently with an appearance at this week's Fall for Dance Festival in New York. From a review of the Fall for Dance Festival that ran in Friday's The New York Times:

Live music -- onstage -- also accompanied the Memphis jookin' of Lil Buck to "The Swan" by Saint-Saëns. Here, however, the playing of Joshua Roman (cello) and Riza Hequibal Printup (harp) and the famous "Swan" music itself paled beside Lil Buck's astonishing, improvisational dance virtuosity. A YouTube video of him performing this piece this year, to Yo-Yo Ma's cello playing, has become celebrated, but to see it live is far more exciting.

Lil Buck, in sneakers, rose onto point; or let a single foot, working through its length like a snake, carry him briskly across the stage as he held a position; or passed dazzling ripples along his arms and through his shoulders; and ended by folding himself into an extraordinary knot. The audience rightly gasped and gasped again; so did I. Too bad its charmingly show-off quality has so little to do with swans or this music. Still, Lil Buck has rare grace; I'd do much to see him apply his brilliance to the right score.


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