Vail Today: Lil Buck creates world premiere for Martha Graham Dance Company (video) |

Vail Today: Lil Buck creates world premiere for Martha Graham Dance Company (video)

By Tricia Swenson | Vail Today
Memphis Jooker Lil Buck has been quite busy since we saw him at last summer’s Vail Dance Festival. Not only has he been literally painted head to toe into a two-dimensional figure by artist Alexis Meade for the video, “Color of Reality”, which has over 275,000 views on YouTube, but Buck was also featured in a commercial for Apple’s AirPods, which debuted during the Houston Texans and New England Patriots playoff game in January. In addition to all of that, Lil Buck has also been busy choreographing moves for the world-renown Martha Graham Dance Company. On Friday, the Company will perform a world premiere of “Lamentation Variation”, which will be Lil Buck’s first commission for a major dance company. No big deal for a guy who’s toured with Madonna, performed “The Swan” next to cellist Yo Yo Ma and spent time dancing in the Cirque du Soleil show “Michael Jackson: ONE”, right? Wrong. Lil Buck was a little apprehensive about this new opportunity. “I was really nervous because back when I was in Memphis at the New Ballet Ensemble, they brought in Blakeley White-McGuire from the Martha Graham Dance Company and she held a workshop and I fell in love with it and thought, ‘I love this, it’s so outside of ballet,’ so I have been in love with Martha Graham choreography since I was 17 years old and I’m 29 now,” said Buck. As always, Buck was doing several projects at once and was worried he wouldn’t be able to give this project, “Lamentation Variation”, his full attention, especially with all the guidelines and limited time available to work with their dancers. “The first day I was trying to jump into the Martha Graham world and be who I could navigating in those waters. On the second day I was like ‘nah, I’m bringing them to my world,’ said Buck. “There are some steps in there where you know ‘that’s Lil Buck right there, there’s that Memphis Jookin’, but at the same time you’ll also see the strength in the details of the Martha Graham movements. “Lamentation” is really about these contractions and trying to break free from inside your own skin. It’s all about this energy, it’s all about really knowing and finding your own personal energy. They dancers are taking it in and loving it, so I’m really excited about it,” said Buck. To learn more about this world premiere on Friday, Aug. 11, visit

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