LIL BUCK

From VMAN 21 Spring 2011

FROM THE STREETS OF MEMPHIS TO THE SOUND STAGES OF HOLLYWOOD, LIL BUCK ELEVATES JUKE FOOTWORK TO NEW HEIGHTS, WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM CLASSICAL BALLET AND, HERE, PHOTOGRAPHER BRUCE WEBER

Lil Buck, the gravity-defying dance prodigy from Memphis, Tennessee, has been gliding a streak through the reels of some of hip hop’s biggest names; from Lil Wayne’s “Prom Queen” clip to a viral collaboration with the Black Eyed Peas. Originally discovered by avant-pop star Janelle Monae, with whom he regularly performs, Buck (née Charles Riley) never anticipated that he’d outgrow the streets of Memphis where he learned his dizzying trade.

“I never thought I would be doing any of this right now, because when I was in Memphis before I moved to California, I was just dancing for fun,” Buck says. “I never got paid for it and I didn’t know that I could get compensated for my art, or for my talent.”

LIl Buck’s talent has nothing lil’ about it. When he was pulled from the audience to perform in a segment on The Ellen Degeneres Show, he left the typically gregarious hostess picking her jaw up off the floor. The juking style that Buck is known for popularizing is not something the dance world has seen before.

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Photography Bruce Weber