Yo-Yo Ma and Lil Buck Performing “The Dying Swan”
Yo-Yo Ma (Musical Prodigy) and Lil Buck (Dance Genius)
Yo-Yo Ma is a French-born Chinese American cellist. Born October 7, 1955 in Paris. He spent his schooling years in New York City and was a child prodigy, performing at the age of five.
Ma graduated from Juilliard and has enjoyed a prolific career as a recording artist as well as a soloist performing with orchestras around the world.
He has received 18 Grammy Awards from his over 90 albums so far.
Ma currently plays with his own Silk Road Ensemble, which has the goal of bringing together musicians from diverse countries all of which are historically linked via the Silk Road.
He also founded the Silk Road Connect, which involves children from middle schools such as JHS 185 in Queens, New York.
He has performed with The New York Philharmonic Orchestra, former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, (herself an accomplished Pianist, playing Mozart at the age of 15 and performing for The Queen), Itzhak Perlman and Sting to name a few.
He currently records on the Sony Classical label.
Lil Buck performing “The Dying Swan” at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater as part of International Evenings of Dance at the Vail International Dance Festival
Charles “Lil Buck” Riley is a Los Angeles-based dancer specializing in a style of street dance called jookin’.
Lil Buck was born on May 25, 1988 in Chicago and raised in Memphis. He began dancing at the age of 12 and studied ballet for two years while on scholarship at the New Ballet Ensemble in Memphis.
Katie Smythe, the Director of The New Ballet Ensemble School, introduced Lil Buck to Saint-Saëns’ music and the idea of applying jookin’ to classical music.
Sometime later, Heather Watts, the wife of director and former ballet dancer Damian Woetzel saw a YouTube video of Lil Buck dancing to Camille Saint-Saëns’ Le cygne (The Swan) in a New Ballet Ensemble school performance and showed the video to her husband.
Damian Woetzel then showed the clip to Yo-Yo Ma and they subsequently used Facebook to contact Lil Buck’s ballet teacher Katie Smythe who introduced the three of them.
Since then Lil Buck and Yo-Yo Ma have paired up three times to perform “The Dying Swan”, including performances at the 2011 USA-China Forum on Arts and Culture in Beijing and in 2013 at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City.
Apart from his dance career, Lil Buck has also modeled in Ad Campaigns for GAP and GQ as well as appeared in several Films and Videos directed by the likes of Benjamin Millepied, Jacob Sutton, Spike Jonze and Ole Schell, the son of Orville Schell.
He has won a Bessie Award with his cousin Ron “Prime Tyme” Myles, made the August 2013 cover of Dance magazine and has worked with Madonna, Circe Du Soleil and most recently with classical dance legend, Mikhail Baryshnikov.
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