I have caught snippets of Charles “Lil’ Buck” Riley’s dancing, but preparing today’s post was the first time I’ve ever really focused on his work. The man moves in ways that makes me look for the wires. I can’t imagine how much mastery of your own body you’d have to possess to move like he does. It’s indescribable. The style of dance for which he is famous is known as jookin, which originated in Memphis (as did Lil’ Buck).
I remember the first time I saw Michael Jackson moonwalk. I thought it had to be a trick. Lil’ Buck in action makes me feel like that. He seems to have only a passing relationship with gravity and the ground, and my brain just refuses to accept that he’s doing all this without special effects. And besides all the mind-blowing moves, the dancer’s musicality is positively epic.
Interestingly, Lil’ Buck is good friends with my darling Yo-Yo Ma, and they have worked on many projects together. There’s something so joyous about a dancer who brings a hip hop sensibility to classical and traditional music. I feel like their mashups are phenomenally successful.
You can follow Lil’ Buck on on Instagram.