Skip to main content

'The LXD' brings 'Glee' star and dance to the Web

By Lisa Respers France, CNN
Left to right, Harry Shum Jr., Chris Scott, Jon M. Chu and Jeremy Marinas share a moment on the set of "The LXD."
Left to right, Harry Shum Jr., Chris Scott, Jon M. Chu and Jeremy Marinas share a moment on the set of "The LXD."
  • New Web series "The LXD" mixes hip-hop dance, narrative and superheroes
  • Series is choreographed by Christopher Scott and Harry Shum Jr., a regular on "Glee"
  • "The LXD" dance troupe opened for the national "Glee:Live" tour
  • Choreographer says TV shows, universality of dance helps drive interest

(CNN) -- The art of dance is hot right now, as are superheroes. So what happens when you combine the two?

Such is the concept behind a new Web series "The LXD" which stands for "The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers." The brainchild of director/filmmaker Jon M. Chu -- "Step Up 2: The Streets," "Step Up 3-D" -- the series features a group of hip-hop dancers described as "the justice league of dancers."

The group has appeared in various venues including on the hit Fox dance show, "So You Think You Can Dance." They also opened for the sold out "Glee: Live" tour across the country and one of "The LXD's" choreographers, Harry Shum Jr., appears on "Glee" as dancing choir member Mike Chang.

Shum and fellow choreographer Christopher Scott recently spoke with CNN about their new series which debuts on July 7 on the website Hulu and mixes narrative with dance and film.

CNN: Explain to us exactly what "THE LXD" is and how it came to be?

Harry Shum Jr.: LXD combines two worlds we fell in love with, which is dance and superheroes. We are telling stories through dance and using these guys as superheroes in the sense of the fight between good and evil and having powers that are not so much supernatural, but more in the sense of within us as dancers.

[Creator/director] Jon Chu sees it as no strings and no special effects so that the world can see that dancers, in a sense, are superhuman.

CNN: Are you going to branch out and mix other dance styles in with hip-hop?

Christopher Scott: A big goal of ours and something that we have done on "So You Think You Can Dance" is to mix in all styles.

Even within hip-hop you have break dancing, you have popping. We love to combine different styles. For example I'm a tap dancer and I like mixing in tap with hip-hop.

We are really open and we love all forms of dancing. We really believe in picking out the extraordinary in each style of dancing and bringing that into the project.

CNN: How intense has filming been around Los Angeles?

Scott: It's fun. We all love it, and it's an amazing experience, but it is definitely very intense.

These guys push the limit physically with what they do, and we don't have much time. It's one of those things that when we are done filming, we look back and say, "Wow, how did we do that? How did we make that happen?"

CNN: Are the episodes more plot driven, or driven by the dancing?

Shum: For the first season, we will be introducing a lot of the characters.

First and foremost we want to convey that it is about the dance. But by season two, the plot is being more developed and you start to understand why these characters are here, where they are going and where the plot is heading.

We want to make sure that the storyline fits in with the dance. That's what we want to do with the series: Convey a story through dance.

CNN: How was it opening for the "Glee: Live" tour?

Scott: For me it was an amazing experience.

I really like what "Glee" is doing, and I think they have one of the best fan bases out there. The were really supportive, and it was great for us because they gave us a lot of respect, and they didn't treat us like an opening act. They treated us like we were the beginning of the show.

And Harry did both shows, so he was pulling double duty.

Shum: I'm so glad they allowed us to do that. I feel like it was an overall perfect opportunity for those two worlds to come together and have a great show. It really was good variety.

We had a really good response and people were blown away. There were some who had never seen that style of dance, so it was great to be able to bring that to them.

CNN: Watching "Glee," viewers can sometimes spot contestants from "So You Think You Can Dance" as extras on the show. Harry, is that purposeful?

Shum: People audition and get on to "So You Think You Can Dance" to get into the industry, and what I think happens is, they start making the rounds and auditioning.

Zach Woodlee [choreographer for "Glee"] is heavily involved in the dance community and a lot of times he sees someone he likes and he asks them to do the show.

CNN: Dance is really happening right now -- with so much interest in shows like "So You Think You Can Dance." Why do you think that is the case?

Scott: I think it's come back to how it was 20 years ago -- back when "Beat Street," "Breaking" and movies like that were coming out.

And even before then when you had Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire and people wanted to see dancing like that. I think it's in all of our natures to want to watch dance because it's in all of us. That's what makes it so universal.