Monday, August 18, 2008

ACDC's Final Challenge to Channing Tatum & Jenna Dewan's M&M Cru

Chu Pictures Banner for M&M Cru vs. ACDC Dance Battle

'Step Up 2' and 'Step Up 3-D' director and ACDC leader Jon M. Chu has one final message for the M&M Cru that he would like to share with world. Although his dance crew may have surprisingly lost the dance battle he started with Adam Sevani last April against Miley Cyrus' M&M Cru at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards, he's still fighting the war to help children in need around the world.

Watch the video and read his message below to see how you too can help...

Here's the message that accompanied the video on YouTube:

One last challenge to Miley and Mandy Cru!!! oh and Adam and I are in Norway...come say hello!!ACDC and Invisible Children have been paired up from the beginning to help raise awareness and money for the forgotten kids of Northern Uganda. So far, through the ACDC TShirt sales, we have made over $50,000 dollars for the charity. Now it's Miley and Mandy's turn!

We CHALLENGE Miley and Mandy to put their M&M Cru tshirts on sale online and throw 100% of the profits to whatever charity they choose.

We believe dance can change the world. And since this battle has begun, and the tshirts started to sell, we are proving that it is true. More kids are getting educated, more kids have books, dorms, clean water because of YOU guys and girls!! Thank you for all your support.

The battle is over, but the war wages on.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for ACDC updates....

Visit invisiblechildren.com to get tShirts and learn more...

and SUBSCRIBE to CHU PICTURES to stay in touch with the ACDC videos!!


I also found a really great interview that M&M Cru director Cole Walliser did with Wired prior to the final battle at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards a few weeks ago. It explains how Cole (who also happens to be friends with Jenna Dewan and Channing Tatum) and the M&M Cru were able to recruit Chenna to their side of the dance battle. Enjoy!!!

M&M Cru, ACDC Take YouTube Dance Battle to Prime Time

By Angela Watercutter August 04, 2008

When the Teen Choice Awards air Monday night, the show will feature the final showdown of the "biggest online dance battle in YouTube history."

That's right. The online clash between director Jon Chu and Adam Sevani's ACDC dance troupe and Miley Cyrus and Mandy Jiroux's M&M Cru will finally be decided in prime time based on the decibels of ear-bleeding screams at the awards show, which Cyrus is hosting. (The show was taped Sunday and, for those who don't mind spoilers, MTV.com reported the winner.)

It's taken a lot of trash-talking, celebrity cameos and ice cream shenanigans to get to this point. But in the last few weeks, both sides have remained fairly quiet as they meticulously prepared for the face-off -- except for the video tease (embedded) from the ACDC team showing aspiring member (and premier danseur) Little Demon.

In an attempt to get up to speed -- and get a few details about what's in store for the show -- Wired.com asked M&M Cru members Cole Walliser (the director and an M&M dancer) and Teresa Espinosa (the choreographer) for a quick oral history of the throw-down.

"We're really excited this thing has exploded," says Walliser. "We obviously knew that people would watch these videos because Miley has a fan base and Jon has a fan base, but this has really helped both groups grow [beyond that]. Now people see these videos and say, 'Miley's kind of cool, look at this stuff that she's a part of.'"

After the jump get the skinny on being friends with the competition, making dance videos on a shoestring and what surprises are in store for the final battle. (Hint: There is more than just fancy footwork involved.)

Wired.com: So how did it all get started?

Cole Walliser: Teresa has been Miley's choreographer since Day One. Her and Alison Faulk [the producer and also one of the dancers] are good friends, so for bigger projects Alison was brought on as assistant choreographer. I've known Teresa for a number of years and Alison is actually my roommate. We're all good friends in that circle. Then how the whole battle came about was Alison actually worked on Step Up 2 -- she was in the 410 crew -- so she got to know Jon and Adam last summer. It got to the point, I think, where Miley saw Step Up 2 and was like, "Oh Adam's cool, Adam's cute" or whatever. Alison said that she knew them and then word got back to Jon and Adam. So Adam obviously thought that Miley was cute and Jon started thinking, "Oh I've got to start getting some action going between these guys." Just lighthearted stuff.

So Jon had the idea to use his YouTube blog to be like, "Hey, I'm going to call you guys out to an online dance battle." He was talking to Alison at the Idol Gives Back thing that Miley performed at. And Alison was like, "This doesn't exist, what are you talking about?" Then Miley grabbed the phone or maybe they were texting or whatever then they just started trash-talking just for fun like, "We're going to smoke you" and "We're going to get these dancers from this crew" and stuff. Basically, at first, we didn't know what they were doing, we just knew they were going to call us out (video embedded). Then when Alison and Teresa knew they had to make a video, they called me. To be honest, I think we kind of impressed them with our production value and finesse on our first video (embedded below). It sort of jumped up from video to video from there.

Teresa Espinosa: I've been Miley's choreographer since 2006. We did her concert choreography for the first Hannah Montana season. It's a totally different ballgame working with her for this kind of thing. When I work with her, she's the artist, so she can never do wrong. She can do the routine or she can go off and ad lib. But this is a dance-off -- if she's not involved in it she's not really part of the crew. She's never done a two-and-a-half-minute dance number [like the one for the Teen Choice Awards]. She's had dance sections in her songs, but not a number where she has to do all the choreography.

Wired.com: How did both sides assemble their crews?

Walliser: The professional dance community is pretty small -- especially street dancers. It's kind of funny because half of our close friends are in ACDC. It was really a matter of who called who first. There were a couple of people that we called first and ACDC called them after and they were like, "Sorry guys, we're already signed up for this Miley Cyrus thing." For the other side, we called some of our close friends, who we thought were totally going to be down, and their response was, "Oh, Jon and Adam called me already." It's a favor, but this also what we love to do.

That was one of the reasons we put names on the videos, just to give everyone a shout-out. Because normally, as a dancer, you're just dancing behind an artist. You're behind Mariah Carey. You're behind Janet Jackson. That's why everyone jumped on board without asking for any money. It's exciting that now that all these dancers have donated their time and energy to make these videos we can actually give a job back to them and it's cool for us, because everyone's getting paid [for doing the awards show].

Wired.com: What's with all the one-upping each other?

Walliser: I think it's always in the mix with dancers. It's a part of the culture. So if some dancer has a move, you're going to want to do it cooler. You always have to be like, "I'm going to top you." So, we brought in a celebrity, we brought in Channing Tatum. Alison is good friends with him and Jenna Dewan because they were on a Janet Jackson tour together back in the day. So we called them because we thought it would be fun opportunity because they were the stars of the first Step Up. Jon thought it was pretty funny. Then, of course, he's thinking, "If you're bringing people in, I'm bringing people in hard-core." So they had tons of [famous] people in their second video (embedded below). No matter what the other person does, be it cameos or production or music or anything, as dancers you try to one-up them on every single level you can.

Wired.com: Yeah, like helicopters.

Walliser: You know, a lot of the things that we did just came about from us sitting around saying, "What do we have access to?" People talk online saying, "Oh, well, Miley can just buy this or buy that," but in terms of production funding we had zero dollars. We had money to cover insurance and we gave the location crews a little money so they could be there and pay for some lights. But other than that we had no money and were basically just pulling in favors from everywhere.

What happened with the helicopter was that Mandy's dad owns a helicopter school. So when we were talking about what we could do for that next video, Mandy said, "Well my dad owns helicopters." We were like, "Are you serious?!" But that was also a huge logistical problem, too. It was a pretty big thing to work around. We were just a bunch of friends with a camera trying to make a video destined for YouTube. So we just took all precautions necessary. We basically shot it in a way that they were actually 30 feet away. It wasn't running when they were near it.

Wired.com: How did you pick your locations?

Espinosa: Actually, some of our rehearsals right now are at a studio in Silver Lake [in Los Angeles], which is the same location we used for our first video, the place that has the giant radio as the backdrop that says "Respect" on it.

Walliser: Actually, that club in the last video (embedded right), Boulevard3, actually hires a bunch of dancers every weekend. I've performed there a couple of times and so have some of our other dancers. We just called them and said, "Hey, we're doing this thing, it's guaranteed millions of views on YouTube." They were supercool about it; eventually they started kicking us ideas and saying, "We could do this or we could do that." They didn't charge us for the venue at all. We basically just had to pay someone to run their lighting system for the day.

Wired.com: How do you go from YouTube to live?

Walliser: It's definitely tricky, because we still want to have interesting components. It's way more complicated and there are way more logistics to get it all to happen in the time allotted. Basically, each crew is getting two minutes and 30 seconds. But we had free reign. We just had to come up with a concept that would allow us to do interesting gags and tricks, back to back to back. With the videos, there was some stuff we shot in New York, there was some stuff we shot in L.A., but we shot it over a couple weeks and were able to edit together. This all has to be organized and choreographed in time to happen right after each other. Teresa has a lot of experience choreographing for stage so she's planned this really well, Alison too. So, we have an edge. We're really excited about this, but it is a little different. It's all new choreography, all new music, so we're also not interpreting something that's been performed before.

Espinosa: We have to create transitions. It has to flow together, whereas with a video you can cut and paste. You have to make things stand out. With a video, the camera creates the focus for you, but on a stage you don't have that. We're going to have to be really organized and focused.

Wired.com: What are the surprises going to be?

Walliser: So our opening song is Chromeo's "Fancy Footwork." All I can say about the performance is that there are going to be some celebrity guests involved in the musical aspects of our performance. The whole thing about it is that, even though we hear things through the grapevine from the other dancers, we have no idea what ACDC is doing and they have no idea what we're doing. We're going to see it live for the first time. So it's important to keep things under wraps.

Wired.com: Will this really be the end?

Walliser: Jon's in preproduction for Step Up 3, and I have other projects to work on too. I don't feel like it can get any bigger either. We already had a helicopter, what are we going to have a spaceship next time? [Laughs] I think it's sort of capped itself. I don't think that's the end of what you'll see of us, but the big production dance videos will probably come to an end.

Wired.com: Any final words?

Walliser: People are under the impression that these crews already existed and that we hate each other, and that's totally not true. It's a battle, we are out for blood. But it's all for fun.

Espinosa: We have the solid core group from the first core group from the first couple videos will be there at the battle. We have the best people so it's not hard to pick. We have amazing dancers -- I'm not even worried about the competition.

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