Yo-Yo Ma Shows Love for Lil’ Buck’s Brand of Street Dance

Two creative worlds collide in this moving performance.

By Thoai Lu Apr 14, 2011

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."

We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to submissions@colorlines.com, and be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send.

To see other Love posts visit our Celebrate Love page.