If you haven't heard of Lil' Buck, you are a) behind on your DS reading! Check him out in our "Most Influential People of 2011" feature; and b) MISSING OUT. The talented dancer is spreading the gospel of "jookin'," a hip hop style that originated in his hometown of Memphis, TN. Jookin' is awesome—and almost impossible to describe. Here's the best I can do: It's a combination of fluid arm isolations, glides and slides, and pointework. You read that correctly: pointework.
Lil' Buck basically blew up the internet last summer, when none other than Spike Jonze posted a video of his mesmerizing take on "The Dying Swan" (with none other than Yo-Yo Ma on the cello). Last night, he grabbed the spotlight again: He performed in Madonna's supersized Superbowl halftime show. And by "performed," I don't mean "step-touched in the back row with 50 other dancers." I mean straight-up stole the show from the Material Girl herself.
There isn't much halftime footage up online (copyright issues, boo). You can, however, catch bits of Lil' Buck's performance—he's the one wearing wings (!)—in this clip (sorry, not embeddable) from his local Memphis TV station. You'll also hear from his adorable ballet teacher, and from the man himself. (I do have a serious bone to pick with News Channel 3, though—local "rapper" shines with Madonna??? Good grief.)
And since, after that appetizer, you're probably hungry for more Lil' Buck, I'll leave you with his amazing "Swan" video from last year:
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
There's a story Kate Walker, director of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, loves to tell about Emma Sutherland, who just graduated from the program. "We were watching the students run a really long, challenging piece," Walker recalls. "Several kids couldn't quite make it through. But Emma did make it all the way to the end, which is when she walked up to us faculty and very politely asked, 'May I please go throw up?' "