Yo-Yo Ma and Charles “Lil Buck” Riley meet “The Dying Swan”

Charles Riley (a.k.a. Lil Buck) is a hip-hop choreographer; his specialty is a dance called the Memphis Jook. Yo-Yo Ma is the best-known cellist in the world. But judging by this, their first collaboration, these artists have a brilliant future together.

The performance took place earlier this month, at a benefit for art programs in the public schools. Yo-Yo Ma plays “The Swan” (a.k.a. “The Dying Swan”), by Camille Saint-Saëns; the piece is meant to evoke a body moving through water. (For comparison’s sake, we’re including a clip of the great French ballerina Yvette Chauviré.) But Lil Buck’s interpretation adds at least a few layers of meaning, and beauty: He’s breathtakingly good.

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Yo-Yo Ma and Charles “Lil Buck” Riley meet “The Dying Swan”