Lil Buck at Le Poisson Rouge

March 31, 2013


Lil Buck, photo by Alex Pitt


Lil Buck, the Memphis jooker phenom, opens a new program at Poisson Rouge tomorrow night. He was a smash hit at Vail in 2011 when he danced The Swan to Yo-yo Ma’s cello playing, leading to being named a 2012 “25 to Watch.”

Damian Woetzel, who brought Lil Buck to Vail, is directing this show to stretch the outrageous dance ability of his protégé. He’s not giving Buck steps, just frameworks for him to keep inventing his own steps. Judging from a rehearsal last week at New York City Center, jookin fits nicely into slightly folksy music by the string quartet Brooklyn Ryder as well as bagpipe music played live by Cristina Pato. Lil Buck is joined by another terrific jooker named Ron Myles. Their ankles seem to be made of some viscous liquid rather than tendons and bones.

Damian Woetzel and Lil Buck giving a workshop at Inner City Arts in L.A.,PHoto by Alex Pitt


The program ends with a slow, almost mystical solo to music composed by Philip Glass for Yo-yo Ma for the occasion. A completely different mood from anything else on the bill.

The Poisson Rouge is sold out. As I wrote in a previous blog, Woetzel is becoming a great impresario, and I hope he will bring “A jookin’ jam session starring Lil Buck” to another venue soon. I’ll let you know.


Lil Buck, Photo by Erin Baiano, all photos courtesy Woetzel