Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A jookin' take on a classic

The dancer above is the amazing Charles "Lil Buck" Riley, familiar from Janelle Monáe's "Tightrope" video and the new dance craze from Memphis (his hometown) known as jookin'. In some ways the performance below (some of it briefly en pointe), performed impromptu to the same familiar chunk of Saint-Saëns with Yo-Yo Ma, is even better than the more formal version above.  The dance world keeps looking for ways to combine the vigor and energy of the street with the ambitions of classical dance.  Could Mr. Riley be the first talent to really bridge these worlds?  It's at moments like this that I wish for what I've called the "Critical Project" fund - one which could simply and confidently move at a moment's notice to bring an artist or an idea to Boston without years of "development" or a convoluted program of educational and social goals.  Somebody just buy Lil Buck a plane ticket and rent him a hotel room.  I think he can do the rest.

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