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By Wendy Perron
You gotta love a world where a kid who dazzles friends on the streets of Memphis can take his talents all the way to China and shoot a Nokia for Windows commercial in between. And so it is with Charles “Lil Buck” Riley, whose amazing feats and amazing feet have propelled him into the stratosphere of the performing arts. Lil Buck draws from both classical dance (ballet) and vernacular dance (jookin’) to create his own crazily virtuosic style. In “Mesmerizing Moves,” Marina Harss traces how he became the artist he is today—and a perpetual student, always soaking up new challenges.
At right: While Damian Woetzel teaches Lil Buck to elongate and open up like a ballet dancer, he learns from his protégé a little something about improvising. Photo by Jayme Thornton; Above: Photo of Perron by Matthew Karas.
For our “Focus on Education,” we ask three questions. First: If you take the time to go to college, can you eventually become a top-notch dancer? The answer, as you will see in “Have Diploma, Will Dance,” is a resounding YES. Five terrific dancers in different genres tell us what they absorbed from their mind-expanding college days. Second: Are the Ivy League colleges still reluctant to delve into dance? The answer is NO. Read Siobhan Burke’s story, “Dance in the Ivy League” to find out how three women dance artists are stirring things up on the hallowed grounds of Yale, Princeton, and Harvard. And last, but perhaps the most urgent: Can I afford college? Our answer to this is the annual “Scholarship Guide,” which will put your ideal education or training within reach.
We all need to freshen our look every now and then. You may notice some small changes in this issue. For instance, if you can’t find “New York Notebook” right away, it’s because we’ve folded it into “Vital Signs.” There will still always be three New York City items, but they will now be part of the rest of the world.