The LXD (legion of extraordinary dancers) is a new web series on Hulu. This series endeavors to tell a story comic book style. There is the wise old man who narrates all his wisdom at the beginning of each story and then we see how each person or group came to be included in this “Legion of Extraordinary Dancers” while unraveling the dark and dangerous bad guys at the same time. So, essentially we have this conflict between these two groups of dancers (think hip-hop West Side Story) who we have not yet been seen doing much battle, but a little bit. For example, the webisode “The Uprising Begins:”
This particular use of dancing as combat reminds me of the Zulu Nation, the primarily ’70s/’80s to today hip-hop movement which called for more dance offs, rap offs, and DJ competitions and less gang violence. It’s even in Guitar Hero. If you’ll notice from the following clip, the difference I see is that Zulu Nation used dance and hip-hop as a form of uniting the community:
The LXD specifically creates a chasm between two groups of dancers rather than uniting them in the joy of dance. You can see this in the story line of “Antigravity Heros.” Two friends find some special warehouse that gives them the ability to dance like no one has danced before. When one friend is invited to the LXD and the other friend’s invite gets stolen, there is jealousy in the “other friend’s” face. The emergence of one of “The Uprising’s” main characters implies that this guy is going down the evil path and will most likely be facing off against his friend at some point.
Now, the series is still going, so I can’t say that it’s foreshadowing because I haven’t seen the entire series, but having seen many a narrative played out, that is my educated guess as to how it’s going to go. Also, at the beginning of this clip, the two friends practice a form of capoeira, which was a form of dance that involved fighting/martial arts type of moves (and let me tell you from personal experience, it is not easy). Choosing a form of dance where these two friends appear to be fighting just tells me that they will be fighting/actually dancing competitively against each other in the future.
So, the idea of dancing rather than fighting is not a new one and the acting in this series is not the best I’ve seen by far, but I find the intent to recreate this idea important. It’s as if we as a society want to express our aggression, struggle, and conflict, but without the permanence of actual death. I’m interested in seeing how this story will play out–will there be the continued trite binaries of good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, etc. or will there be unity in a shared enjoyment? Is this purely a simple dancing super hero comic book or an exploration of our own humanistic desires?
In any event, they sure can dance: