Lil Buck Jookin: Dancer Explains Moves to Stephen Colbert


Not everyone enjoys Stephen Colbert's show on Comedy Central or his brand of political humor. That's OK. There's nothing political in the following clip from Thursday night's show: his interview with consummate performer/philosopher (there's no other way to describe this man) Lil Buck.

Colbert himself has a beautiful singing voice and obvious acting talent. Some of the guests on his show are musicians with whom he sings charming duets. His interviews with avant-garde performers are sometimes hilarious but always interesting, and, full disclosure, are one of the ways I keep track of what's hip in the world of millennials.

Lil Buck, however, is something completely different in the way of performing talent. For one thing, he is a dancer. I know something about dance , both classical ballet and interpretive/jazz dance, because I studied them for years and majored in dance in college until injury forced me to change to English literature. Music still moves my feet when my mind is otherwise occupied, though, and I still love the sight of bodies in coordinated, graceful movement in space.

I hadn't heard of Lil Buck, or of "jookin," until I saw this interview and the demonstration that follows it. Now that I have, I'm hooked on jookin'. I can only say that, even in my youth, I could not have done what Lil Buck can do. Spinning on his toes like that in sneakers ... you have to be kidding! I could have done it 40 years ago in blocked pointe shoes, but no longer. Both of my ankles are now slightly arthritic; watching his do what they do is almost painful. He is amazing and wonderful.

Lil Buck is also something of a dance historian. He explains the history of jookin' to Colbert and demonstrates the line dance from which it traces its beginnings in the skating rinks of Memphis, Tenn.

The Colbert Report

Lil Buck's dancing is lyrical and inventive. He has a keen sense of musicality and flows with it, interpreting theme and atmosphere with his body.

He and Colbert discussed the collaboration with Yo Yo Ma on the variation from Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake." I looked it up and found a video clip, it is tremendous. Watch it here.