An audience of over 100 grade school students at Los Angeles’s Inner City Arts got a big treat recently when world famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma teamed up with locally-based dancer Charles Riley for a rendition of "The Dying Swan." In the performance, Ma uses his high-brow style of performance to provide the soundtrack for Riley’s style of interpretive urban dance. The two offered up their talents in order to highlight the need for more government-sponsored arts programs. You can see the whole thing in the video that’s above.
Ma, a Presidential Media of Freedom Award Recipient, is already world renowned. But LA-based Charles Riley, known by his stage name Lil’ Buck, is just starting to make a name on the national scene. The twenty-two-year old is the 2011 Vail International Dance Festival’s Artist-in-Residence and does a style of dance known as "jookin’", which originated in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. He also taught the kids how a Michael Jackson-style moonwalk as Ma played Jackson’s "Billie Jean."
"All the things that they talk about these days, with where our country is going — we need an innovative and knowledge work force," Ma told Southern California Public Radio. "The best way to build innovation and creative imagination – and the most efficient way to do it – is actually by movement, visualizing, sound."
"We can build community like nothing else," Ma continued. "All it takes is imagination, attention and empathy — that we care."
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