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    Fall 2019 Campaign

    Lil Buck on Dancing and Breaking Bones With Kendall Jenner Lil Buck on Dancing
    and Breaking Bones
    With Kendall Jenner 

    Plus, the dance sensation reveals how he came to
    love the Memphis jookin style
    Plus, the dance sensation
    reveals how he came to love
    the Memphis jookin style

    9.30.19

    Lil Buck has risen to be one of the dance industry’s biggest disruptors. Known for his signature Memphis jookin dance style, he shot to fame in 2011, when a video of him dancing alongside Yo-Yo Ma's classical cello performance went viral. In the years since, he has propelled Memphis jookin into the mainstream, and his raw yet elegant way of movement has led him to win the Wall Street Journal’s Innovator Award for Performing Arts in 2014 and dance on tour with Madonna multiple times. His latest act: Starring with Kendall Jenner in our Fall 2019 Campaign, SW Boot Camp, where he also made history debuting SW's first-ever menswear design, the MCKENZEE MEN'S. Here, he reveals what drives him to continue to break boundaries and more.

    Dance Brings Out His True Self Dance Brings Out His
    True Self

    “Dance has played a major role in helping me discover who I am as a person. I was born in Chicago's west side and then moved to Memphis when I was eight years old. I was introverted growing up, having been through a lot of rough personal times.

    But dance helped bring my personality out when I was a kid. I just had rhythm. Dancing has been a great way to channel the feelings, emotions and traumas in my life. Dance takes you to another place where you don't have any fears. Just for that moment you get to create your own world of happiness and shine in the best way possible.

    I believe dance helps people grow and get to know themselves more than anything — and more than anybody else would. That is why this is what I'm most passionate about in life, period.”

    He Is A Master Of His Own Dance Domain

    “I was around 12 when I discovered the Memphis jookin dance style, and I fell in love it. Literally, it was my first real love. I fell in love with it so much that I was training like a maniac. I spent all of my time doing that.

    Memphis jookin is really about finding your own rhythm within any song you dance to. Because it's such a street dance, you don't have any studios with mirrors to rehearse. It's literally going into a parking lot in Memphis, playing music from your car, opening up your car doors and expressing yourself — shining your soul — right there. You're dancing and learning and creating without having to look at yourself. But it does have fundamental moves: I’d say 40% is knowing your basics and 60% is tapping into your own creativity. 

    Because jookin is predominantly footwork, I wanted to learn how to be as versatile as I could with my upper body, so I also started to learn the dance style Flexing. One of the moves is called bone breaking, when guys take their arms out of their shoulders, and dance with them. I actually went through a lot of hell to be able to learn how to do that.”

    When Memphis Jookin Meets SW When Memphis Jookin
    Meets SW

    “Working with Stuart Weitzman was a beautiful experience. I was really able to be myself on set, which made it one of the most fun shoots I've ever been on. I wasn't told to dance a certain way, I was just told to do my own thing. I could glide across the floor however I wanted to. It was really freeing.

    I love fashion because I grew up never being able to afford or wear anything that I would want to wear. Now, I have different styles for my different moods. I wear boots a lot when I just want to take the world by storm. With these MCKENZEE MEN'S boots I felt like a badass on set dancing with Kendall. I loved wearing them. I'm excited to wear the first-ever menswear design, too.

    Kendall is an amazing, fun person to work with, and I loved working with her. I taught her how to do the buck jump. It’s a move where your knees come up, almost to your chest. She was killing that no problem. She’s so open to challenging herself and learning new things, which made the experience really fun. And she can move. I've seen it for myself — she can move.”

    Expanding His World Of Dance Expanding His World
    Of Dance

    “Dance is innate in all of us. I truly believe dance can inspire you to tackle whatever you want to do in life, whether you're a dancer or not.

    I want to share dance with as many people as I can. More than four years ago, I started a dance company with another dancer, Jon Boogz, who is like a brother to me. It’s called Movement Art Is. We produce short films and live shows about important issues in the world — important social issues, fun issues — things that really hit home for us.

    We are going on tour this fall with a show called Love Heals, and we’re building it out to be a Broadway show in the future, potentially. We really just dig deep, and we care about what we put out into the world.”

    What Fuels His Enduring Drive What Fuels His
    Enduring Drive

    “One of the things that really drives me is the next generation — the youth, the future.

    Now that I'm known as the face of Memphis jookin, I feel like I have this responsibility to uphold a whole culture everywhere I go. Kids are watching me at all times. They are the ones who are going to keep the dance form going after me, so I really want to inspire them and give them knowledge, time and attention.

    Ultimately, I want to be able to let these kids know that they can do it, too. I'm from a neighborhood like theirs. I'm not just a special case. I always tell them that their dreams aren't too big. They can reach for the stars.”

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