Choreographer and performer Charles “Lil Buck” Riley and cellist Ashley Bathgate visited the Redfern Arts Center on Oct. 5 during their “What Moves You” tour.
The tour, which was received with numerous cheers from the audience, looks at the collaborative process between a single musician and a single dancer and how they work together to convey their emotions to the audience through their craft.
The tour is titled “What Moves You,” and Bathgate said, “Collaboration in art is personal … for me, it’s all emotion-based … at the end of the day, it’s more about how you’re feeling inside.”
During the performance in between two pieces, Lil Buck said what he feels helps move him is the relationship he feels between artist and performer while they share the stage he feels they recycle one another’s energy to put on a performance for the audience.
Lil Buck said he expresses himself a lot through his dance and movements,telling a story in his performances. He mentioned the first piece they performed at the Redfern was telling a story of the darkness in his life and how he looked and found light during his transition from living in Memphis to Los Angeles.
The duo performed eight pieces for the Keene State audience, and as Bathgate said, all but two of the pieces were first-time performances for both of them. After the performance, cheers and applause filled the Redfern, and the duo even received a standing ovation from the audience.
Audience member Karen Fazio said, “The performance was beautiful…and Buck’s movements worked really well with Ashley’s cello playing.” Fazio additionally said she enjoyed the way Buck and Ashley worked together and shared the stage.
The duo was on stage for most of the performance together, except for three pieces, two of which included Bathgate expressing her emotions through the cello and another of Lil Buck performing a solo of his “jookin” style of dance, which rose from Memphis, Tenn., as a style of street dance.
Memphis Jookin also used to be known as Gangster Walking, starting as a confident strut style of movement brought on by the music said Lil Buck.
Buck also said, “It took people years to learn this dance style. It’s a development of yourself, it’s learning yourself, but at the same time, it has a lot of foundation, so you will know its ‘jookin’ when you see it.”
The finale of the night was the duo’s rendition of Camille Saint-Sa ëns, “The Swan,” a piece that sky-rocketed Lil Buck’s fame when a video of him and cellist Yo-Yo Ma went viral on YouTube.
Bathgate said, “I saw the video with Yo-Yo Ma of “The Swan” and said to myself, ‘I’ve never seen anyone dance like this. This is incredible’ … and thought it was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen.”
The connection of the audience to the performers was clear Fazio said, “There was one point during one of the last pieces where Ashley looked up while playing and followed Buck with her eyes and you could really feel the connection between the two.”
Fletcher Rice can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org