Now in its third season on Hulu, “The LXD” dance series is an original, telling the story of good vs. evil in an usual way: through dance. It’s the brainchild of Jon M. Chu, the same guy who brought us “Step Up 2: The Streets,” “Step Up 3D,” and Justin Bieber’s movie, “Never Say Never.” (He’s also reportedly working on a sequel to the G.I. Joe movie.) The dance troupe has been making the rounds lately—they’ve toured with the cast of “Glee” for two summers now, and have performed at the Emmys and at the TED conference. Most recently, they made their second appearance on “So You Think You Can Dance,” where the LXD’s Christopher Scott also served as a guest choreographer for several weeks this season. We spoke to Scott about the new season of The LXD a day before the group’s “SYTYCD” performance.
Hulu: So, Chris, tell us about the “So You Think You Can Dance” performance.
Christopher Scott: The performance on “So You Think You Can Dance” is kind of, in a way, a continuation of the last piece that we did on the show. We start off with Galen and I on stage. We choreographed it together. We brought in an element of snow to set the season and tone. We like to engage with a place when we dance, to provide a place for the audience to experience a cinematic feel. We kind of add on routines until we have everyone on stage this time — last time we had people come and go throughout the routing. This time, we added a couple elements like flexers, who we showcase. And we have Pandora with her cutting. There are two ballerinas on pointe. It was contemporary the first time; this performance is more contemporary ballet.
We really wanted to show individual styles. That’s always a mission for The LXD: that street styles are as beautiful as your typical ballet. This one was very much an LXD ballet. Their story is more in the relationship that people have. It’s very subtle in the way that it represents society and where people belong, and where do you fit in. People get pulled into different molds … at the end, we all come together. Ultimately there shouldn’t be any rules.
I think you really got everyone’s attention when you choreographed “Misty Blue” for “SYTYCD” finalist Sasha and Season 4 All-Star Twitch. What’s the story behind that routine?
Originally, the only thing I knew going into the week was that I was going to get Twitch. Twitch has so much power, soul, and passion when he dances. When I listened to the song, it just sounded like Twitch would make this special. Then I found out it was going to be with Sasha, and I knew she’d be great. She’s not a hip-hop dancer, but rather a contemporary dancer. She has so much soul and passion, too. I knew the song was going to be perfect.
Listening to this song, it’s about a woman who was torn. She shouldn’t be with this guy. She misses him, but she shouldn’t be with him. It has this whole blues thing. I did a routine earlier in the season, “Ain’t No Sushine,” and in that one, I had it so that the girl was gone, away most of the routine.
One line in that song, “It’s been such a long, long time,” made me think about any couple who had been together such a long time. You know, they’ve been with each other for so long, but one night, they get the babysitter and go back to how it was. They go have fun, have a glass of wine, get freaky. I decided to just go with it from there. It’s a ’70s song, so I wanted to set it at the time the song came out. I pictured “The Wonder Years” and how they always had dinner on that show. I had it at dinner at first. But for some reason, it was so much more fun if it was breakfast. You know, it’s like she’s so much more important than work. Everyone wants that in a relationship, that feeling of being special. “Forget work, forget reading my newspaper, my relationship is more.”
Who’s your pick to win this season?
I haven’t gotten a chance to work with everyone on the show, so I’m a little biased. Sasha is just amazing. She is so easy to work with. She puts everything she has into it.
All of these dancers are good kids. They’re so hungry, so talented. Any one of them can win the show. When you work with them, it’s different than watching at home. You can’t pick your favorites.
Now, The LXD. What can we expect from Season 3?
Epic-ness for sure. We like epic, always. Season 1 was contained. It focused on meeting the characters. Season 2 introduced the bad guys and setting up the idea of good vs. evil. In Season 3, we’re going to see the impact of the fight. It will be good versus evil. You’ll get a taste of where this all began.
You’ve obviously been busy lately. How do you juggle the series and side projects — after all, you guys toured with “Glee” this summer?
This season was a little tougher. There has been so much opportunity from The LXD, where I started as a choreographer. Now I’m getting recognition and opportunity. It’s getting harder to be available. The same is happening for Harry [Shum, Jr.]. His role on “Glee” has gotten bigger since we started the show. But we’ve been able to build a bigger team and expand. We brought on more choreographers Galen Hooks and Mike Song, a great up-and-coming choreographer.
We got to see some of the series regulars get involved behind the scenes, too. Luigi and David had asked before about bringing some choreography to the series, and this season has been a great opportunity for these B-boys. Madd Chadd — the robot — wanted to jump into the choreography, and it was amazing to see what he could bring.
What’s next for you?
I’ve been hired to be a choreographer on “Step Up 4,” in fact I’m on the set right now. I met Jon on “Step Up,” I came on in “Step Up 3D.” I went to Hollywood High School for performing arts. I started in theater, even though I was a hip-hop kid. My CD case was full of Tupac, “Ragtime,” and “Les Mis.” From there, I attended the Theater Academy and then Second City for improv school. I studied dance, but I never found myself dancing. I always thought “I like to dance, but I love acting,” but as I let it all happen, it just took over. I’d just be in an elevator with my mom and sister, tap-dancing the whole time.
What have been some of your all-time favorite performances?
The first time we did “So You Think You Can Dance.” This was the first time we established what we were gonna do in live shows. Harry and I had no idea what we were gonna do. We had all this crazy stuff. But then we just looked at each other and said we should do a B-boy ballet. We see hip-hop as beautiful like ballet. That’s when it all started.
TEDTalks was pretty amazing: just to be invited, to have 18 minutes on that stage. We had original music. Live musicians were coming to rehearsals and we’d freestyle.
But “Robot Lovestory” is definitely my favorite of the series, for the style of Madd Chadd and to work with him. He’s so precise, and the concept is so cool. I don’t know if anyone out there really got the concept, but we had extensions of Madd Chadd — we called them his energies, these dancers — these extensions were coming off his body and going all over the room. It was fun. It felt like choreographing a superhero.
“Mark of the Ox” was another. Just being there. It was freestyle. We had Frantick there with the powder. It was so music. He’d never done it before, but he just came out of his hood. It was silent, even the music was in a quiet section. Everyone was just laughing at him, because the stuff he was doing with this powder was off the top of his head. It brought his mom to tears. For a lot of these guys, they’re street dancers, and to be filmed like this, this is why we do this.
Catch new episodes of “The LXD” every Thursday on Hulu.