Program Notes: Memphis Jookin
Memphis Jookin: The Show
featuring Lil Buck
Monday, February 28, 2022
Bing Concert Hall
CHARLES “LIL BUCK” RILEY
CHARLES “LIL BUCK” RILEY
DAI'VIAN “STRO” WASHINGTON
ERIC “SURF” TAYLOR
BRADLEY “GENO” DAVIS
JERAME “DOME DE GEAI” BRADEN
ELISE “DANCEBEASTELISE” LANDRUM
JADYN “SMOOTH” NATHAN
JASINA “SINA” TATE
LARRAY CURRY WALKER
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
CRATEN ‘JAI PRO’ ARMMER
Produced by CAMI Music LLC & Lil Buck Entertainment
Co-Produced by The Orpheum Theatre Group, Memphis, TN
Funding for Memphis Jookin tour dance education programming is underwritten by Jody and John Arnhold and the Arnhold Foundation
WARDROBE COURTESY OF:
NIKE / Jordan Brand / Prep Curry / Jerame “Dome De Geai” Braden
Collage Dance / SubRoy Studios / East End Skating Center / 901 ENT Ashundra Bernard & Test Anywhere Memphis / After Effects Artist Joey Lanley
The Memphis Jookin Community
Willie Drake Allen aka O.G. Willie
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT:
Stanford Live Season Sponsor:
NO LATE SEATING. Please be considerate of others and turn off all phones, pagers, and watch alarms. Photography and recording of any kind are not permitted. Thank you.
HEALTH AND SAFETY: All patrons are required to wear a mask at this performance.
About the Show
"Jookin was this diamond in the rough. It was raw, real and gangster. I'd only ever seen people like Michael Jackson dancing on VHS tapes, living a superstar life that wasn't attainable. So when I saw Jookin being done in my own backyard, and being danced by people who looked like me, that blew my mind. I knew immediately: I want that so bad."
“Buck’s power derives from the ability to get to the bottom of what something feels like for him and then to express it to the world.”
—Gia Kourlas, New York Times
Renowned dance artist Lil Buck conceives, choreographs, and performs in a new touring production called “Memphis Jookin: The Show,” an ode to Lil Buck’s hometown of Memphis, TN, birthplace of the singular dance style known as Memphis Jookin. The 90-minute stage show takes us on a journey to the fabled city to chronicle how the artform emerged from local street dance to international phenomenon.
Charles “Lil Buck” Riley, Dancer, Choreographer, Producer
Charles "Lil Buck" Riley is a movement artist known for bringing a freestyle-based street dance involving intricate footwork, called Memphis Jookin, to a mainstream audience across the world. Raised in Memphis, TN he was introduced to the urban street dance style around the age of 13 years old; after moving up in the Jookin ranks, he studied ballet for two years on scholarship. He quickly made a niche for himself by adding his own style and imagination to create signature moves – which include gliding across space as if gravity doesn’t exist.
In 2011, Lil Buck performed with YoYo Ma to his rendition of Camille Saint-Saëns’ “The Swan.” Spike Jonze happened to be in the audience and was so blown away by the performance, he taped it on his phone and posted it on the Internet. The video quickly went viral with over 3 million views on YouTube. Since then, he’s performed with Cirque du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson: One,” Benjamin Millipied, Janelle Monae, and Madonna to name a few.
His dancing abilities combined with his unique style has made him a fashion icon. Lil Buck was awarded the Wall Street Journal Innovator award in 2014. In 2015 he collaborated alongside Mikhail Baryshnikov in a campaign for Rag & Bone’s Fall/Winter campaign and has appeared in ads for brands such as Jordan, Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel, Kaporal Jeans, Gap, and more. He also designed a capsule collection for Versace.
Lil Buck continues to defy gravity in Apple’s AirPods commercial which garnered over 8 million views on YouTube within two weeks. He also starred in Lexus' 2017 Super Bowl commercial, and you can see some of his moves through the role of the “Mouse King” in Disney’s feature film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
Buck is Co-Founder of MOVEMENT ART IS, an organization focused on using movement artistry to inspire change in the world. Lil Buck collaborated with dancer Jon Boogz and artist Alexa Meade to create "Color of Reality," a short film addressing gun violence. The film won CNN’s Great Big Story “Art as Impact” Award and Toronto Short Festival’s “Best Experimental Film” and was also nominated for World of Dance’s “Concept Video of the Year.” Buck also starred in the nature inspired short film Honor Thy Mother which addresses the need for humans to take better care of our planet. Lil Buck continues to share his Art, Activism, and one-of-a-kind style of movement with the world.
Amy “Catfox” Campion, Director
Amy “Catfox” Campion is a dance art maker, activist, and educator who empowers people through Hip-Hop Culture. Her work crosses artistic and cultural boundaries: transplanting hip-hop dance from street to stage, remixing street dance vocabularies, and telling stories through a multimedia intersection of dance, theater, film, poetry, graffiti art, and music. Through a collaborative creative process, Campion partners with performers to create choreography that is both virtuosic and expressive. Her work showcases the innate capacity of Hip-Hop art forms to advocate for positive social change. Campion’s dance art experience spans two decades and includes multiple dance styles, most prominently, Breaking, Hip-Hop, and Capoeira. In 2006, Campion graduated from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures with an MFA in Choreography. From 2007 to 2019, Campion founded and directed Antics, a multimedia hip-hop dance theater company. Campion’s work has been presented internationally, nationally, and extensively throughout greater Los Angeles. She is a part-time faculty member at California State University Long Beach Dance Department. Anticsperformance.com
Ameenah Kaplan, Writer
Ameenah Kaplan holds a BFA in directing from the Academy of Art University Film School. She also attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts for acting. She has served as Resident Director for Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway and on the show’s North American tour, and appears on the ABC+ show Encore! as a choreographer and director. She spent her early career working as an actor, choreographer, and drummer. Her acting credits include Avengers: Infinity War, guest star and recurring roles on The Office and Grey’s Anatomy, and she was in the original American cast of Stomp. She’s been a drum coach with Blue Man Group for 18 years and has played drums for Rihanna, Macy Gray, Adam Lambert, and Rod Stewart. Other directing credits include The Wiz for First Stage Milwaukee, Our Country’s Good at American Players Theatre, Meet Vera Stark at Purdue U., How to Break for the Village Theater Seattle, The Royale at ACT Theatre Seattle, and Bash’d for LA’s Celebration Theatre. She directed Molodi: Up Close and Personal for Las Vegas’ premiere body percussion group and consults for Antics Hip Hop Theater Company in LA. She has twice directed for Noah Wylie’s Young Playwright’s Festival. Her short film, Man with a Movie Camera premiered at Hollyshorts Film Festival in 2014. She directed an award-winning short, The American Failure, hosted by multiple film festivals. She has choreographed more than two-dozen shows for stage and TV, including Dancing with the Stars. She originated the choreography for The Royale at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in LA and for The Dancing Granny by Ashley Bryan at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Ameenah is the recipient of Gregory, Ovation, Sherwood, Queen of Angels, and multiple NAACP and LA Weekly awards for choreography, fight choreography, and directing.
Malcolm Barrett, Writer
Malcolm Barrett is a veteran stage and screen actor/playwright who most recently can be seen in the Emmy-nominated series Genius: Aretha Franklin opposite Tony-Award winner Cynthia Erivo. Known for television series like The Boys, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Sopranos, and series regular roles on Better Off Ted, Preacher & Timeless, he’s also made numerous film appearances in movies like Tom Hanks’ Larry Crowne, Dear White People, Peeples, the Academy-Award winning The Hurt Locker, etc. More recent credits include Disney Plus' Just Beyond and Shudder’s Black horror anthology Horror Noire. A former Nuyorican Poetry Cafe national team member, he also wrote, produced and acted in the play, Brain Problems (The Pico), which was nominated for an Ovation writing award and produced by Ammo Theatre, of which he is a founding member and former Artistic Director.
Short plays he’s written include Trial by Fury (MCC Theatre) and The Board Room (Acme Theatre). He is an Ovation-Award winning actor for the play, The Recommendation. He is thankful to the performers who gave their whole spirit to this production and to the creative team behind Memphis Jookin: The Show for this opportunity, including Lil Buck, Jai, Amy, the Mulherins, Helena, Terran, Dr. Rico, and decades long friends and family, co-writer Ameenah Kaplan, Producer Alex Barnes, and the Orpheum’s Jen McGrath.
Terran Noir Gary, Choreographer
A native of Memphis, TN Terran Gary is currently the Dance Team Manager for the Memphis Grizzlies NBA Basketball team where she is responsible for the management, direction, choreography & staging of Grizzlies Dance Entertainment Teams including Grizz Girls, Blue Bunch, and Grannies & Grandpas.
In addition to her work with the Grizzlies, Terran is Owner and Artistic Director of SubRoy Studios in Memphis where she is responsible for the professional development of aspiring professional performers in the greater Memphis area. SubRoy Studios offers a diverse dance curriculum, preparing dancers for the commercial market. As a dance collective, Subculture Royalty fosters the development of dynamic choreographers and performers. SubRoy requires calculated marketing and promotional strategies as well as athletic training for performances.
Marico “Dr. Rico” Flake, Jookin Choreographer/Movement Creator
Memphis native Marico “Dr. Rico” Flake is one of the most influential dancers and teachers in urban dance, especially known for helping develop and promote Memphis Jookin, a street style that carries the spirit of the Blues City. Dr. Rico has been featured on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Choreography for his work with Janelle Monae on her music video “Tightrope.” He choreographed the first Memphis Jookin Dance Tour and is a founder and leading member of the legendary Jookin crew G-Force, responsible for establishing the first known Jookin academy. He also helped form the international dance crew The Assassins – Warriors of Light. Dr. Rico is the co-author of The Jook, the book that codified Jookin and ballet, and he authored an online Memphis Jookin certificate program with the International Urban Dance Academy. He’s particularly known for his focus on learning and exploring what dance teaches us about life and what life teaches us about dance. Now, as a member of Urban Artistry based in the D.C. area, his goal is to further the Human Genome Project through the anthropology of dance. He has traveled to a number of countries around the world sharing the various cultures of dance he represents, in a quest to simultaneously keep traditions alive and innovation ever present.
Marshall and Parker Mulherin, Composers & Music Directors
Marshall and Parker Mulherin are twin brothers from Memphis, where they grew up surrounded by music—their father is a professional musician and their mother a knowledgeable fan with wide-ranging musical tastes. While marinating in the rich musical environment at home, they grew up as percussionists in middle school and high school band. Early in their college years at Loyola New Orleans, they discovered their vocations as composers, songwriters, and singers, and began releasing original songs online as Mulherin and playing live in New Orleans clubs and college venues.
Lil Buck entered the Mulherins’ lives when they were commissioned to create music for his performances with Memphis’s New Ballet Ensemble in 2014 and again in 2016. They moved to Los Angeles the next year to pursue their musical career, but stayed creatively engaged with Buck, contributing music to “Love Heals All Wounds,” the first production from his Movement Art Is organization, and a composition for the Vail Dance Festival. They’ve toured nationally and were finishing up their next Mulherin EP and music video when Buck invited them to join the creative team for Memphis Jookin: The Show. They were delighted to dive back into his unique creative world, composing and producing a wide stylistic range of music for the show.
Their career as Mulherin also continues full steam, with a new EP and plenty of other songs available on all the music streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.), videos on YouTube, and more live performances on the horizon.
Joe Mulherin, Video Producer
Joe’s smorgasbord of a career has served up video projects, music, writing, live events, and other savory adventures that have arisen over the decades. He has written, produced, and directed 40+ years of video projects for live shows, television, corporations, non-profits, and other clients. He’s probably written most things there are to write—articles, scripts, speeches/presentations, ads, all-purpose prose, even a TED Talk (but no book yet). His eclectic array of gigs as a trumpeter/arranger cover broad musical territory, from Jackie Wilson to The Band, Jerry Lee Lewis, Brenda Lee, Levon Helm, Keith Richards, and Toots Hibbert, among many, some more famous than others. He’s served as music supervisor, consultant, composer or score producer on over 50 feature films, documentaries, and TV shows. As a music director he’s logged that many live events and stage musicals. His live productions have likewise run the gamut, from Fortune 500 corporate events to award shows, galas, NBA halftime shows, music and dance concerts, and lots of etcetera. His work has thankfully taken him to many countries on three continents. But as productive as all these years have been, by far his finest productions are Marshall and Parker (see above).
Craten "Jai Pro" Armmer, Producer/Tour Manger/Music
Jai Pro is a Memphian first before everything. He has an extreme love for his city and all it has contributed to the world. His love for Memphis and protection of its assets was the biggest factor that led him to his involvement in helping establish Memphis Jookin to the world.
Jai Pro began his career in television and music early. By the age of 20, he had worked "hands on" in the Television Industry for over six years and created his own music as early as 15 years old. By 2008, after seeing a lot of fly-by-night dances become popular, Jai scoured the city for anyone Jookin. "I couldn't find anything on the web about Jookin, Gangsta Walking, anything."
In 2006 Jai released Memphis Jookin Vol 1 featuring the premiere Jookers of the city. Thanks to the DVD, in addition to promotion on an emerging new platform called "Youtube," Memphis Jookin hit the city and the entire world instantly. By 2010, Jookin had spread to all continents and was beginning to get recognized in the dance industry.
Since 2010, Jai has continued to push this dance style for his city and it has taken him all across the world. Since then, Jai has booked on Memphis Jookers on commercials, music videos, movies and managed the most influential Jooker, Lil Buck. Months before the pandemic shut down the world, Jai and Lil Buck were introduced to CAMI Music in Paris and two and a half years later we are here. Lookout for the non-profit Memphis Jookin Arts Academy which will be opening later in 2022 and more big things involving Memphis Jookin Globally.
Dai'Vian “Stro” Washington (JJ)
Dai'Vian, a 22-year-old native Memphian, has been dancing since he was six years old. A ninth grade theater class revealed his acting talent that he has since developed by performing in plays through high school and college. He followed Jookin on the Internet but developed his own style in the likes of Chris Brown/Michael Jackson, and only began to learn Jookin in the past several years. Working with top-flight Jookers in the show has been very motivating: “I've gotten so much advice from them, so much inspiration about how to be myself and incorporate that into the way that I dance.” @Stro.901
Eric “Surf” Taylor (Double OG, Rehearsal Director)
Surf, one of the show’s real OG’s at 30, was born and raised in Memphis. He was all about sports until dancing got his attention at 15, first in hip-hop, the last 13 years as a jooker, inspired by his older brother, Memphis Jookin pioneer (and the show’s co-choreographer) Dr. Rico. Surf has been a member of the seminal Memphis Jookin groups G-Force and 2 Live Crew. “I've been in the game so long, I'm not just Jookin for myself any more,” he says. I'm Jookin for the ones who couldn't make it to this point in their career or in their life. I put them in my heart and just move forward with that.” @Surf_Taylor
Bradley “Geno” Davis (DJ Fly)
Geno is 28 and grew up dancing for fun. By the mid-2000s, with Jookin all around him in Memphis and on brand-new YouTube, he started teaching himself through videos and practicing on his own. His independent approach gives him a unique style, and he competed on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, Season 12. He’s a member of 901.ent/The DreamTeam and says that Jookin has taught him vital lessons: “I learned the best thing you can do in life is be yourself—a hundred percent,” he says. “And you have to work hard at anything that you're serious about, because it's only going to give you what you give it.” Now he’s passing along those lessons to his five-year-old son Ethen. @LGENO901
Jerame “Dome De Geai” Braden (Ensemble)
Dome is only 18 but he’s been involved in Jookin since he was a toddler. His father DJ Kojack DJed Jookin events around Memphis and he tagged along: “I was that little kid just sitting in the back, just watching,” he says. “I got inspired.” Soon he was dancing himself, studying at several studios, and joined the M Town Image crew, where his freestyle flourished. Dome is also active as a photographer/videographer, painter, clothing designer and studies graphic design. But, he says, there’s “a certain type of love that I get from dancing that I don't get from anything else.” uuglyalien.com @domedegeai
Ryan Haskett (Ensemble, Social Media Manager)
Ryan is a 29 year-old artist and entrepreneur from Memphis. He’s studied dance since he was 10—tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop—and joined the Memphis Grizzlies junior dance team before he hit his teens, but he says, “Memphis Jookin is my home.” He met Lil Buck in 2007 when Jookin was just hitting YouTube, and he jumped headfirst into the Jookin scene. Ryan is also one of Memphis’s top DJ’s and is an active photographer, videographer, musician, and a budding entrepreneur in all his fields of interest. Ryan credits his spirituality and his daily practice of meditation for the balance and success in his life. @RyanTheMindTV
Dra’em Hines (Ensemble)
A 19-year-old Memphis native, Dra’em was inspired to dance by his father, an amateur Gangsta Walker. He showed Dra’em the basics and took him to his first Jookin sessions. He says, “I’ve been inspired by every Jooker old and new as I was introduced to the culture.” He’s a member of the crew 901.ent/The Dream Team, and appeared with them in a Kerwin Frost Adidas TV commercial. Dra’em is committed to meditation as a daily practice and feels it has made a real difference in his life: “When you get on the floor after meditating, it's like you're in the flow. Meditating is definitely the way to go.” @draem901
Elise “DanceBeastElise” Landrum (Ensemble)
Elise earned the title Queen of Memphis Jookin in 2019. She fell in love with the style at seven, watching YouTube videos, and once she started lessons she never looked back. Home-schooled, she spends time practicing or “labbing” every day. She won Heavy Hittas Battlefest Tournament and competed in the national finals in Washington, DC. For Elise, this tour puts it all together: “I'm getting paid to do what I love to do with people who I’ve been dancing with for years… people who've helped me. It's really lovely.” @GangstaE901
Jadyn “Smooth” Nathan (Ensemble)
Jadyn’s family moved from Boston to Memphis when he was three, and the city’s dancing culture caught his interest right away. He started taking lessons, and by six he was in one of the first Jookin academies, learning from the city’s best. Soon he was competing in local battles, and now at 18 he’s one of the city’s finest young Jookers—he won the 2021 Memphis regional Red Bull Dance Your Style event and competed in the national finals in Washington, DC. Jadyn feels the Memphis Jookin tour is the next step: “I'm ready to just to keep going. Any opportunity that's after this, I'm ready for it!” @iamjadynsmooth
Wes “King Wes” Stewart (Ensemble)
Wes has danced since he was three years old and at 23, his broad dance background includes studies at almost every hip hop and Jookin studio in Memphis and a couple of ballet academies. He has worked professionally for the past nine years, most recently as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies dance team. Wes also has entrepreneurial plans, especially as a clothing designer. After dancing in choreographed styles, returning to Jookin has been a liberating experience for him: “It’s an empowerment thing—it’s freedom!” @Kvngs.island_
Jasina “Sina Trendin” Tate (Ensemble)
Sina began Jookin eight years ago and now at 22 she’s found her creative path. Like many dancers, she first learned from YouTube videos, but found that live sessions with experienced Jookers were important: “They know how to move and flow with the music. It's all different live.” As one of the few women Jookers, she encourages more women to get involved for the creative and the personal benefits: “I learned from Jookin to be confident within yourself, you know, love yourself and love the craft and what you do.” @Sinatrendin901
Larray Curry Walker (Ensemble)
Larray says his family noticed his budding dance ability when he was only two, but he started taking it seriously at age 12, when he joined one of the top Memphis dance studios. The key was taking what he learned there home, practicing and practicing some more. Now 18, Larray describes his personal style as a combination of hip-hop, freestyle, and Jookin. He also appreciates the life lessons he’s learned. “Jookin has taught me a lot, especially to have a mind of my own and take the path that I want to take.” @larraycurry
Merging the worlds of live event production and artist management, Columbia Artists Music LLC (CAMI Music) has swiftly become an international leader in the performing arts. CAMI Music specializes in the general management and touring of prominent musicians and performing artists, as well as providing production and consultation services for large-scale events and festivals worldwide. Recognizing the global stature of the performing arts, CAMI Music has allied many of its Artists and Events with distinguished global brands through endorsement and sponsorship opportunities.
Established in 2004 by Ronald A. Wilford, Founder, and CEO of Columbia Artists Management, and Jean-Jacques Cesbron, then EVP of Columbia Artists Management, CAMI Music is an independently owned and operated management company. CAMI Music’s dedicated booking and production departments specialize in the fulfillment of the roster’s touring specifications while satisfying the demand for performances around the world.
ORPHEUM THEATRE GROUP
(Co-Producer) Memphis-based, four-time Tony Award winning non-profit performing arts institution, under the leadership of President & CEO Brett Batterson. With a mission to Entertain, Educate, and Enlighten, the organization presents year-round entertainment featuring concerts, Broadway, dance, and special events as well as accessible education and community engagement programming.
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