Lil Buck is a mover and a shaker, the self-titled “ambassador” of Jookin – an intricate footwork dance style. Jookin evolved from Gangsta Walking, popularized on the streets of Memphis TN, about 30 years ago. Lil Buck learned to dance with his sister in his living room, moved onto classical ballet, and then onto street performing in LA. These days, his freestyle footwork impresses onlookers beyond the street.
On stage at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Lil Buck took four beautifully exaggerated steps in slow motion. He was improvising to a string quartet. The well-heeled audience had probably come for Yo-Yo Ma but they gasped when Lil Buck accomplished a signature move, gliding smoothly across the floor as if levitating. He moved so that the notes seemed to vibrate up his body, his sneakers squeaking as he pirouetted.
“I think he’s a genius,” Mr. Ma said after the show. A video of their duet to Camille Saint-Saëns’s “The Swan” went viral in 2011; they have since performed it around the world — “one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Mr. Ma said.