Umbrella Academy Luther Allison dance
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Credit: Netflix

The Umbrella Academy stars break down Allison and Luther's epic dance scene

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Feb 28, 2019

Midway through the first season of The Umbrella Academy — the new Netflix series about a super-dysfunctional family of superheroes — there's a key dance scene.

Actually, let's clarify that, because this show has lots of dancing: in this one, two star-crossed lovers finally come together for a touching pas de deux under twinkly lights. Sparks fly. There's a passionate kiss.

**Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers ahead for The Umbrella Academy.**

In spite of the fact that, yes, they just so happen to be brother and sister.

But that isn't as big a deal as you might think, according to those working on the show. First and foremost, the brother-sister thing has a big asterisk. "They're siblings, but they're not biological," qualifies showrunner Steve Blackman.

"There's a massive innocence to it," Tom Hopper, who plays Luther, one half of The Umbrella Academy's most complicated couple, tells SYFY WIRE. "It's not dirty. It's a deep, deep connection that they have. It wasn't something that we felt was taboo in any way."

"Lust is not involved at all," agrees his co-star, Emmy Raver-Lampman, who plays Allison, of the hesitant, not-quite-platonic relationship. "I think it's just like, 'I see who you are and you see who I am, and I haven't met a single other person on this planet who can do that.'"

Her character even says something to that effect, telling Luther, "I think maybe you're the only person who really knows who I am and still likes me anyway."

It all comes to a head in the sixth episode of the series, "The Day That Wasn't." Rather than stick together and fight the impending apocalypse as a family, the surviving Hargreeves go their separate ways, and as Allison and Luther say their presumably-final goodbyes, Luther asks his adopted sister to dance. Cue a dreamy, romantic duet set to, fittingly, "Dancing in the Moonlight" by Toploader.

It's one of the show's many heavily-stylized, choreographed musical numbers — only in this one, no one's getting shot or stabbed. Which makes for a surprisingly sweet moment, and one that Blackman told SYFY WIRE was one of his favorite scenes of the entire season.

"It was so much fun," gushes Raver-Lampman. Before making her TV debut with The Umbrella Academy, the actress was a fixture on Broadway, performing in a number of musicals, from Wicked to Hamilton.

It was slightly less fun, and significantly more nerve-wracking, for her dance partner though. "I'd never really done a dance like that before," explains Hopper. "There was a part of me that was very, very nervous." (If you remember from that Episode 1 dance montage, Luther's moves aren't exactly… smooth.)

Still, the actor says he attempted to take it all in stride: "It was a massive challenge, but it's what I love about this show and what Steve's done with this show. He puts us all out of our comfort zone at some point."

In order to make the scene less intimidating, Hopper says he tried to connect the dance's complex choreography to something he was more familiar with: fight choreography. "Because in a fight, you are partners. You're not working against each other. You're working with each other," he explains. "I think that probably saved me, actually. I just thought, 'Think of it like a fight. It's just foot movements.'"

Although if you forget a step in a fight scene, it's a little easier to fake it, he says, laughing: "Whereas in a dance, it's on the beat… The amount of time we were dancing and I'd go, 'Aww, I've lost it! I've lost it! Start again! Start again!' "

"I don't think I've ever laughed so hard," recalls Raver-Lampman. "But he was just such a sport the whole time. He never got frustrated. You never got out of sorts. That was a huge ask." (Luckily, thanks to the scene's surreal, almost dream sequence-like nature, Hopper was sparred from having to do the complicated dance in Luther's bulky muscle suit.)

Umbrella Academy Luther Allison dance 2

Credit: Netflix

All told, the pair had about seven hours of rehearsal time over four days to learn the partnered dance, which was choreographed by Emma Portner (who's married to their co-star, Ellen Page). "It was very intricate. Detailed," Hopper says of Portner's mix of contemporary and ballet-inspired choreography. "Just tiny little hand movements and stuff that you may not even notice."

"It's a huge dance number," agrees Raver-Lampman, who had nothing but praise for her dance partner. "He took to it like a fish to water. He was great. He smashed it."

The end result is one of the season's most heartwarming moments, culminating with Allison and Luther's long-awaited first kiss. So, of course, all that hard work and romantic payoff ends up being for naught once Five (Aidan Gallagher) successfully resets the timeline later on in the episode, undoing the past 24 hours – and that kiss. Because if there's one constant in The Umbrella Academy, it's that nothing can ever come easy to the Hargreeves family. Especially not love.


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