I ain’t no Vanity Fair reviewer but I do have my favorite moments from Jon M. Chu and Harry Shum Jr.’s The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers. Seeing as how I gave up on all dance competition shows a couple of years ago and I’ve been wanting to find a show that commands my full attention so I don’t end up burning myself out overmultitasking, I put a lot of stock in this series. I expect nothing less than excellent dance from it.
(Also, I just got back from Khamai practice, where we tied shoelaces around our wrists and knees to get more uniform movement in our six-step drills. How fitting!)
Umm, this is kind of crazy epic – a tad cheesy – not that I expected anything less. It is modeled after comic book arcs, after all. I considered putting up screenshots of my favorite scenes from the show, but stills of dancers can be such teases. You wouldn’t be able to see the movement. You’ll just have to watch or pretend you know what I’m talking about in the observations below.
I like how this guy flips and the entire party stops. Also, was that Namond from The Wire in the red jacket at prom? Answer: No, no it is not.
So far I can genuinely say I’m impressed by the diversity in the LXD‘s cast. The series bills itself as celebrating multiple forms of dance, and it seems they also reached out to multiple types of faces. When it comes to the dancers, though, they all meet a certain standard for showmanship, performance, and some degree of acting ability. Much easier to sit through than some other dance movies collecting dust at Blockbuster. So far, the LXD is smart and doesn’t overdo it with the dialogue. Emphasis goes to the movement, as it should.
Couldn’t help getting distracted every once in a while by some dancer’s hair. That’s inevitable, I suppose. It’s also a given in the non-silver screen dance community that you come across some pretty douchey looking hair styles every once in a while. I’m fully aware of this. I dye mine, and I know that if I wear it a certain way, I look like a poser. These guys in “The Tale of Trevor Drift,” though, even the ones with the anime-sized spikes and shaves, you know that they’ve got to be able to hold their own in a highly competitive industry. Freezers they might be. Posers they are not.
“The Tale of Trevor Drift” is pretty much what you expect from really good b-boys, but I’m looking forward to more variety in street dancing (maybe even some contemporary? Ehh? Ehh?) from the LXD.
More story set-up starts in the second chapter of LXD. Gotta say I liked this one more, even though the acting was not the best. I give the cast a lot of leeway in my mind, though – They’re probably dancers first and actors second.
I liked how the two friends went from a bit of a wushu session into “defying gravity.” Having seen wushu performed before, though, I kind of wish Travis Wong was able to do more with the chain whip. Stirring up some magical Styrofoam chips is a good visual, but kind of leaves something to be desired. Maybe I’m assuming too much of his background, but it just seems like with his aerial skills, he’d be able to pull off more bold and daring martial arts moves.
Watching this episode’s protagonists play around with their newfound abilities succeeded in evoking one very strong feeling in me, one of regret. I will forever regret not learning how to flip and jump the way that boys are encouraged to. I’m totally tooting my own horn here because what could a blog reader possibly know about my physical skills or lack thereof – but I was born with a lot of hops, and sometimes I feel like I wasted all that potential. I’ve lamented about it before, that certain jumps are saved for male choreography. I just know that regardless of the genre or style of dance, jumps are my element, and shit – I never formally learned how to flip.
Watch the series now on Hulu! It’s not a show you can just have running in the background. Dance is a visual performing art. But if you need to turn away for something, plan your trip to the fridge during Don Cheadle’s Older Doppelganger’s intros.
Also, how cute are Chris Scott and Harry Shum?