Lil Buck

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Charles "Lil Buck" Riley
Born (1988-05-25) May 25, 1988 (age 26)
Chicago, Illinois
Residence Burbank, California[1]:2
Nationality American
Occupation Dancer
Agent Clear Talent Group
Home town Memphis, Tennessee
Awards Outstanding PerformerBessie Award
2013 Budget Bulgar Orbit

Charles "Lil Buck" Riley (born May 25, 1988) is a Los Angeles-based dancer and occasional model from Memphis, Tennessee who specializes in a style of street dance called jookin'. He gained popularity after director Spike Jonze used his cell phone to record an interpretive performance of "The Dying Swan" by Lil Buck and Yo-Yo Ma.[2][3][4] Jonze uploaded the video to YouTube and as of August 2014, it had amassed 2.7 million views.[5]

Early life[edit]

Lil Buck was born in Chicago and raised in Memphis.[6] He discovered jookin when he was 12 years old after his older sister showed him some basic jookin dance moves in their living room. After learning more about the dance from neighborhood mentors he spent less time doing his other hobbies, including drawing and basketball, so that he could focus solely on improving his dancing. When he was 17, he appeared in a locally produced jookin DVD called Memphis Jookin Vol. 1.[1]:1

Lil Buck studied ballet for two years while on scholarship at the New Ballet Ensemble in Memphis.[7][8] He accepted the scholarship under the condition that he would not have to wear tights, but he eventually relented so that he could perform with the company in a ballet show. [1]:2

Career[edit]

2010–2011:The Dying Swan and Madonna[edit]

Lil Buck moved to Los Angeles when he was 19 to pursue a career in dance.[1]:2 In 2010, he appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show[9] and co-choreographed the music video for the song "Tightrope" by Janelle Monáe.

In 2011, director and former ballet dancer Damian Woetzel met Lil Buck and paired him with Yo-Yo Ma in "The Dying Swan" performance that went viral on YouTube. Woetzel heard about Lil Buck from his wife Heather Watts who saw an old YouTube video clip of Lil Buck freestyle dancing to Camille Saint-SaënsLe cygne (The Swan). She showed the clip to her husband Woetzel who then showed the clip to Yo-Yo Ma. They all eventually met by using Facebook to contact Lil Buck's ballet teacher Katie Smythe.[1]:2

"Lil Buck is what you might get if Mikhail Baryshnikov and Chris Brown's genes were combined in a blender."

Ole Schell, filmmaker[10]

After "The Dying Swan" performance, Woetzel's professional relationship with Lil Buck continued. Woetzel invited Lil Buck to be the artist in residence at the 2011 Vail International Dance Festival.[9][11] He paired Lil Buck with Yo-Yo Ma again for a performance at the 2011 U.S.-China Forum on the Arts and Culture in Beijing.[12][13] Lil Buck was the first person in his family to travel outside of the United States. His trip was documented in a short independent film titled Lil Buck Goes to China. The film was directed by Ole Schell who is the son of Orville Schell,[14] an American journalist based in China who organized the forum in Beijing. After his trip, Lil Buck was photographed by Bruce Weber for an interview in the Spring 2011 issue of VMAN magazine.[15][16]

Aside from working with Woetzel and Yo-Yo Ma, Lil Buck danced for Madonna during her Super Bowl XLVI halftime show after winning the "Dance for Madonna Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Competition".[12][17][18] He eventually joined her MDNA Tour as one of 22 dancers.[17][19][20] Due to all of his accomplishments during the year, Dance Spirit magazine named him one of "The Most Influential People of 2011".[21]

2012–2014:Cirque Du Soleil, films, and modeling[edit]

In 2012, Lil Buck was named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch".[8] The same year, he modeled in a national GAP ad[17] and danced in two NOWNESS videos, one of which was directed by ballet choreographer Benjamin Millepied.[22] The other video was directed by Jacob Sutton who submitted a longer version to Cinedans, a Dutch film festival that showcases films based on dance.[23]

Lil Buck spent most of 2013 dancing in the Cirque du Soleil show Michael Jackson: One.[24][25] He modeled men's clothing in an 8-page spread in GQ magazine titled "How to Kick Your Jeans Habit".[16] He also appeared on The Colbert Report[14] and spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival.[26]

Lil Buck performed with Yo-Yo Ma a third time at an event directed by Woetzel and held at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City.[4] He and his cousin Ron "Prime Tyme" Myles eventually won a Bessie Award for this performance.[27] Later in the year, Lil Buck made the August 2013 cover of Dance magazine[28] and briefly appeared in the Spike Jonze film Her as a busker/dancer.[29]

In March 2014, Lil Buck performed at the TEDxTeen conference in New York City.[30] In April, he appeared in another Jacob Sutton dance film sponsored by Diesel[31] and he danced in the New York City Ballet's Spring premiere which was choreographed by artist JR and scored by musician Woodkid.[32][33] Lil Buck was a guest judge on season 11 of So You Think You Can Dance.[33]

Personal life[edit]

Lil Buck is vegan and has seven brothers and sisters.[24] He is a fan of the Brooklyn-based street dance style flexing.[1]:2

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Kourlas, Gia (March 25, 2013). "Lil Buck talks about jookin and his show at Le Poisson Rouge". Time Out. Archived from the original on February 14, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  2. ^ Sommer, Sally (January 2012). "Balletic Breakin'". Dance Magazine. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  3. ^ Blank, Christopher (December 8, 2011). "Crown prince of jookin' returns for New Ballet's 'Nut Remix'". GoMemphis.com. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Macaulay, Alastair (April 3, 2013). "Hip-Hop Meets Ballet in One Man’s Body". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 9, 2014. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  5. ^ Opening Ceremony Blog Exclusive - Spike Jonze Presents: Lil Buck and Yo-Yo Ma (live performance). YouTube. April 11, 2011. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Ballet Hip Hop?". MTVVoice.com. February 28, 2014. Archived from the original on April 1, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  7. ^ Johnson, Tamara (May 30, 2013). "Meet Lil Buck: Jookin Master". TheWorldDances.com. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Poon, Kina (January 2012). "25 to Watch". Dance Magazine. Archived from the original on January 4, 2014. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Street dancer Charles 'Lil Buck' Riley to be artist in residence at Vail International Dance Festival". RealVail.com. May 12, 2011. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  10. ^ Von Baldegg, Kasia Cieplak-Mayr (February 8, 2013). "Lil Buck Exports Jaw-Dropping Memphis Street Dance to China". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 17, 2014. 
  11. ^ Macaulay, Alastair (August 6, 2013). "From Winning to ‘Wow,’ Festival Fun Unfurls in Crisscrossing Acts: Vail Dance Festival Has an International Evening". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 9, 2014. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Lil Buck Explains Memphis Jookin On Colbert Report After Video "Goes To China"". MemphisRap.com. February 23, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  13. ^ Chin, Josh (November 21, 2011). "Yo Yo Ma and Lil' Buck Perform The Swan in Beijing". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Wong, Edward (March 1, 2013). "Taking American Dance to China, and Bringing Back a Film". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Lil Buck - V Man Magazine, New York City". BruceWeber.com. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "How to Kick Your Jeans Habit Editorial from GQ Magazine, February 2013". MyFDB.com. Archived from the original on April 1, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c "Lil’ Buck: Memphis Jookin In Gap "Denim Moves You" Commercial (Video)". MemphisRap.com. September 11, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  18. ^ Washburn, Dan (February 3, 2012). "Before Lil Buck Dances With Madonna at Super Bowl, Watch Him Dance in China". AsiaSociety.org. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  19. ^ Blank, Christopher (February 7, 2012). "Memphis dancer Lil Buck to tour with Madonna". CommercialAppeal.com. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  20. ^ "MDNA Tour details". Mad-Eyes.com. July 15, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  21. ^ Feller, Alison (December 9, 2011). "The Most Influential People of 2011". Dance Spirit. Archived from the original on April 1, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Jacob Sutton: Lil Buck". Nowness.com. July 24, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  23. ^ "SHORTS 7 Urban Style". Cinedans.nl. Archived from the original on February 17, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014. 
  24. ^ a b Harss, Marina (August 2013). "Mesmerizing Moves". Dance Magazine. Archived from the original on September 22, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  25. ^ Leach, Robin (May 24, 2013). "‘Michael Jackson One’ is Cirque du Soleil’s best — and includes snow at Mandalay Bay". Las Vegas Sun. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Charles "Lil Buck" Riley". AspenIdeas.org. Archived from the original on April 1, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  27. ^ Burke, Siobhan (October 8, 2013). "Bessies Are Presented to Dancers in Ceremony at the Apollo". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 9, 2014. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  28. ^ "August 2013". Dance Magazine. Archived from the original on February 14, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Her (2013) – Full Cast & Crew". IMDb.com. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Lil Buck". TedXTeen.com. Archived from the original on April 1, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  31. ^ Feller, Alison (April 9, 2014). "The A to Zs of Dance". Dance Spirit. Archived from the original on April 29, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  32. ^ Dalzell, Jenny (February 27, 2014). "NYCB + JR + Lil Buck + Woodkid = Coolest Thing in Dance Since Demi Plié". Dance Spirit. Archived from the original on April 1, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  33. ^ a b Ryzik, Melena (June 26, 2014). "A Man in Constant Motion". The New York Times. Retrieved July 4, 2014. 

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