YouTube channel will feature original series

DS2DIO, a YouTube lifestyle channel from the minds of the “Step Up” franchise and Web series “LXD,” aims to lure the online dance community with glossy original content.

Channel debuts today and arrives as dance continues to emerge as a driving force in Hollywood content, from memorable commercials to booming reality series to profitable film franchises. Underlining profitability of dance in showbiz is the fact that the four installments of “Step Up” alone have grossed over half a billion dollars in global box office receipts,

“We’re trying to convince others that dance isn’t just a cheesy love story movie or for a commercial or competition reality show,” said Jon Chu, who helmed the second and third installments of the “Step Up” franchise along with “G.I. Joe 2″ and Justin Bieber doc “Never Say Never.” He and producing partner Hieu Ho founded DS2DIO and have culled talent from multiple genres within the dance community, including the familiar faces of “LXD” and “Step Up” that are peppered throughout the channel’s original content.

“We want to show that dance can actually be used in more subtle ways of storytelling,” Chu continued. “Somebody just has to do it. Someone has to open people’s eyes to what dance can be.”

DS2DIO (pronounced “D-Studio”) was conceived partly after Chu and Ho sensed the creative limitations of scripted online dance series “LXD.”

“What I found from doing ‘LXD’ was that all of the stuff I wanted to do was getting difficult because there was a very specific narrative,” Chu told Variety. “Every time we wanted to go beyond that ‘LXD’ structure, it would confuse our center…(With DS2DIO) we don’t have to be stuck to a narrative. We created a channel we can play in, and that changed everything.”

Channel will feature five original series including “The Arena,” a competish skein with topnotch bboys; stunt choreo series “Fight!”; and scripted content including “The Floor,” described as “‘Gossip Girl’ meets ‘Step Up.'” DS2DIO will bow content this fall and early next year.

Ho told Variety that DS2DIO takes advantage of technology that has been underutilized by the dance world. “We can exchange ideas with the audience on this channel as opposed to just showing them and sitting back,” Ho said. Along with high quality cinematography used in each webisode, master class series will allow viewers to flip content into a mirror mode, making it easier to learn dance styles. Foreign language closed captioning will also be available on a majority of content.

“What we love about YouTube specifically,” Ho noted, “is that it’s a worldwide platform.”

Chu remarked that dance is currently in a “golden age” as it continues to push into the foreground of pop culture. DS2DIO may serve as a guinea pig platform for more upscale dance fare that could eventually ripple into broadcast TV and more sophisticated storytelling in feature films.

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