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TED2010

The LXD: In the Internet age, dance evolves ...

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The LXD (the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers) electrify the TED2010 stage with an emerging global street-dance culture, revved up by the Internet. In a preview of Jon Chu's upcoming Web series, this astonishing troupe show off their superpowers.

- Dance adventurers
The LXD (the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers) are building an interactive web series that represents the next evolution of dance. Full bio

(Music)
00:17
(Applause)
01:48
I'm Jon M. Chu. And I'm not a dancer,
01:59
I'm not a choreographer -- I'm actually a filmmaker, a storyteller.
02:02
I directed a movie two years ago
02:06
called "Step Up 2: The Streets."
02:08
Anybody? Anybody? Yeah!
02:10
During that movie I got to meet a ton of hip-hop dancers --
02:12
amazing, the best in the world --
02:14
and they brought me into a society, the sort of underground
02:16
street culture that blew my mind.
02:19
I mean, this is literally human beings
02:21
with super-human strength and abilities.
02:23
They could fly in the air. They could bend their elbow all the way back.
02:26
They could spin on their heads for 80 times in a row.
02:28
I'd never seen anything like that.
02:31
When I was growing up, my heroes were people like
02:33
Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Michael Jackson.
02:35
I grew up in a musical family.
02:39
(Laughter)
02:41
And those guys, those were like, ultimate heroes.
02:42
Being a shy, little, skinny Asian kid growing up in the Silicon Valley
02:45
with low self-esteem, those guys made me believe in something bigger.
02:48
Those guys made me want to, like, "I'm going to do that
02:51
moonwalk at that bar mitzvah tonight for that girl."
02:53
(Applause)
02:56
And it seems like those dance heroes have disappeared,
02:59
sort of relegated to the background of pop stars and music videos.
03:02
But after seeing what I've seen,
03:06
the truth is, they have not disappeared at all.
03:08
They're here, getting better and better every day.
03:10
And dance has progressed.
03:13
It is insane what dance is right now.
03:15
Dance has never had a better friend than technology.
03:17
Online videos and social networking ...
03:19
dancers have created a whole global laboratory online
03:21
for dance, where kids in Japan are taking moves
03:24
from a YouTube video created in Detroit,
03:26
building on it within days and releasing a new video,
03:28
while teenagers in California are taking the Japanese video and remixing it
03:31
with a Philly flair to create a whole new dance style in itself.
03:33
And this is happening every day.
03:37
And from these bedrooms and living rooms and garages,
03:39
with cheap webcams,
03:42
lies the world's great dancers of tomorrow.
03:44
Our Fred Astaires, our Gene Kellys
03:46
our Michael Jacksons are right at our fingertips,
03:48
and may not have that opportunity, except for us.
03:50
So, we created the LXD,
03:53
sort of a -- the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers,
03:55
a justice league of dancers that believe
03:58
that dance can have a transformative effect on the world.
04:00
A living, breathing comic book series,
04:02
but unlike Spiderman and Iron Man,
04:05
these guys can actually do it.
04:07
And we're going to show you some today. So, let me introduce to you,
04:09
some of our heroes right now.
04:11
We got Madd Chadd,
04:13
Lil' C, Kid David and J Smooth.
04:15
Please be excited, have fun, yell, scream.
04:18
Ladies and gentlemen: The LXD.
04:20
(Applause)
04:22
(Video): Madd Chadd: When people first see me,
04:23
I get a lot of different reactions actually.
04:25
Sometimes you would think that maybe kids would enjoy it,
04:29
but sometimes they get a little freaked out.
04:33
And, I don't know, I kind of get a kick out of that a little bit.
04:37
(Music)
04:41
(Applause)
05:57
J Smooth: When I'm in the zone -- I'm dancing and free styling it --
06:02
I actually visually kind of picture
06:05
lines, and moving them.
06:08
I think of like, Transformers,
06:10
like how panels open and then they fold,
06:12
they fold in, and then you close that panel.
06:16
And then another thing opens,
06:19
you close that.
06:22
(Music)
06:24
(Applause)
07:40
Kid David: It's kind of like, honestly a lot of times
07:46
I don't really know what's going on
07:48
when I'm dancing.
07:50
Because at that point it's just really like, it's my body and the music.
07:52
It's not really a conscious decision,
07:54
"I'm going to do this next, I'm going to do this."
07:56
It's kind of like this other level
07:59
where you can't make choices anymore,
08:02
and it's just your body reacting to certain sounds in the music.
08:04
I got my name just because I was so young.
08:08
I was young when I started. I was younger than a lot of the people I was dancing with.
08:10
So, it was always like, they called me Kid David, because I was the kid.
08:14
(Music)
08:21
(Applause)
09:09
L'il C: I tell them to create a ball,
09:16
and then you just use that ball of energy.
09:18
And instead of throwing it out, people would think
09:20
that's a krump move, that's a krump move.
09:22
That's not a krump move. You're going to throw it out,
09:24
you throw it out, and you hold it.
09:26
And you let it go, and then right when you see the tail,
09:28
you grab it by the tail, then you bring it back in.
09:30
And you just got this piece of energy
09:32
and you just, you're manipulating it.
09:35
You know, you create power, then you tame it.
09:37
(Music)
09:45
(Applause)
10:51
(Music)
11:03
(Applause)
16:45

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About the speaker:

The LXD - Dance adventurers
The LXD (the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers) are building an interactive web series that represents the next evolution of dance.

Why you should listen

Imagine two rival factions -- one good, one evil -- squaring off in an epic battle ... an epic dance battle. Welcome to The LXD, a new online adventure in which heroes and villains combat each other with dance superpowers. With stunning choreography, dancers float over the ground like marionettes or crush the laws of physics beneath their feet when they perform breathtaking aerial maneuvers and transcendental step sequences.

The series hopes to do more than follow the dance-battle zeitgeist that rules today’s TV ratings. In addition to live performances, The LXD reveals dance superheroes on both sides of the screen—viewers can learn dance moves from instructional videos, and even become part of the story by participating in the web community. The LXD is written and directed by Jon Chu, a veteran of dance productions, including the box office sensation Step Up 2: The Streets and the Internet phenomenon, The Biggest Online Dance Battle.

More profile about the speaker
The LXD | Speaker | TED.com