Sources: Miami CBS – By Lisa Petrillo | Miami Herald | All Things Michael
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A young dancer, discovered over the internet, has a taken a funky style called “Jookin” to a whole new world.
His name is Lil Buck and he is paying it forward to high school students with big dreams at the YoungArts Foundation.
His dancing style is a cross between Michael Jackson and Chris Brown but it’s also all his own.
Lil Buck was introduced to the urban street dance style known as “jookin” in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.
Charles “Lil Buck” Riley, was born on May 25, 1988, in Chicago, IL. While still a small child, he moved with his family to Memphis.
Born in Chicago, Riley move with his family (he has seven siblings) to Memphis when he was 6. There, he grew up loving basketball, drawing and Michael Jackson. He found his calling when he was 12 years old, when he walked into a Memphis roller skating rink that was a center for the jookin dance scene and encountered a vision named Bobo who could walk on water. He still lights up describing his moment of enlightenment.
“I see this huge circle and I push to the front and I see this guy smiling, ear to ear smile, with gold in his mouth, gliding, gliding across this carpet in sneakers, like water, he was just melting. And I was like no way. I knew what I wanted to do from that moment on. I just felt it. This is it. It’s over. I have to learn how to do this. This is the most amazing thing I ever saw in my life.”
Always loving to dance, Charles became a great local dancer and became involved in groups such as “Subculture Royalty”, Ladell Beamons “Heal The Hood” and also studied ballet at “New Ballet Ensemble”.
When he was 17-years old appeared in several videos dancing that were featured on YouTube.
Lil Buck later moved to Los Angeles when he was 19, to pursue a career in dance.
He’s worked with the likes of Janelle Monae, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, performed with Madonna during her Super Bowl XLVI halftime show and later joined her MDNA Tour.
With over 40,000 followers on Instagram and millions of views on the net, Lil Buck has a very strong social media presence.
Lil Buck is now featured in multiple commercials, movie/tv show cameos, music videos, Cirque du Soleil show “Michael Jackson: One show and a tour with the Queen herself “M” under his belt.
His dizzying array of projects keeps Riley, who nominally lives in Las Vegas (where he plays the spirit of Michael Jackson for Cirque du Soleil), traveling 250 days a year. “He kinda lives on Delta,” says Jai Armmer, Riley’s manager, a music producer and Memphis friend of 10 years. It’s a challenging schedule even for someone with Riley’s inexhaustible energy. “Yo Jai, man,” says Riley, flopping in a chair after Tuesday’s class. “What do I got coming up? I can’t even keep track.”
See video interview here