Born in Memphis, Lil Buck learnt the local dance tradition of Jookin from its streets. Nicknamed “street ballet” for good reason, Lil Buck’s mastery of the art form has made him a rising star in the dance world, having performed in ads by the likes of Louis Vuitton and Apple. We caught up with Lil Buck to work his craft in the all-new Nike Air VaporMax, and invited renowned director Vernie Yeung to capture his unique airborne dance routine.
Born as Charles Riley, Lil Buck spent his formative years in Memphis attending a bevy of dance classes, but the only one that held his fascination was a style born from the streets called Jookin – a variant of the Memphis-specific Gangsta Walking street dance that is inseparable from the city’s vibrant music tradition. This pursuit has led him to not only perfect his core skills, but also to focus on his leg movements, build up his toe strength, increase his knee flexibility, and develop his body rhythm. The resulting movements are no easy feat for the Nike Air VaporMax to handle.
In Memphis, Jookin is a fact of everyday life. For Lil Buck to stand out from the crowd, he had to branch out from Jookin into such varied disciplines as ballet, gymnastics, and later classical music and world dance to create a completely novel amalgam of physical expression. His talent has also led to performances for Yo-Yo Ma, Spike Jonze and Madonna, bringing his one-of-a-kind ”street ballet” to a global stage. Lil Buck’s journey is much like the unchanging innovation behind the 30-year history of Air Max, which has progressed from a minuscule Visible Air window into the fully-fledged VaporMax technology.
In collaboration with Nike, we invited singer Lee Yuchun, Lil Buck and fashion editor Eugene Tong as three RevolutionAirs who have shaken up their respective fields of music, art and fashion. Embodying the devil-may-care attitude of #KissMyAirs, they’re coming together to celebrate the annual celebration of Air Max Day on March 26, alongside the global debut of the much-anticipated Nike Air VaporMax.
Their journeys to the forefront of their disciplines have been profiled by three of Asia’s most promising young filmmakers, whose short films which we’ll exclusively premiere.
- Vernie Yeung
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