Filmmaker Louis Wallecan uses his expertise in musicology in his latest documentary, Lil' Buck: Real Swan, to present an artist who has made strides in the collaboration with classical music and cultural migrations.
Charles "Lil’ Buck" Riley learned the smooth art of Memphis jookin while practicing on the streets, parking lots and the slippery floors of the Memphis, Tennessee Crystal Palace Roller Rink. It was on these platforms that his lifelong passion for dance began at the age of twelve. He specialized in jookin, a dance with specifically intricate footwork. Riley's mother recalls that her son's tennis shoes would last only a week at a time, which became a very expensive sport.
Jookin is a fluid Street dance style that evolved from the Gangsta Walk and jolts of bucking. Riley was well known for his style and won a scholarship to study ballet. He was able to take his style of dance to a whole new level incorporating street jookin with classical technique. His career really took off when a video of him dancing to Camille Saint-Saëns' "The Swan", accompanied by the famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma, went viral.
Wallecan's documentary shares the story of an extra-ordinary young man performing a unique style of dance that would be nothing without his passion, drive, discipline and talent. Lil' Buck has performed all over the world and has paved the way for mentorship programs in dance and advocacy for arts education.