Can we make #TappyFriday a thing? Earlier this morning we brought you the utter joy of Book of Mormon swing Christopher Rice's "Happy Tap Dance." Now, the Syncopated Ladies are turning up the heat with their latest tap video extravaganza, set to Katy Perry's "Roar."
It has everything you've come to expect from a Syncopated Ladies production—namely, Chloé Arnold's fabulous team of hoofers doing innovative choreography to an earworm of a girl-power anthem. But the cool thing about this latest video is that it's set in the desert, which means the Ladies are actually practicing the fine art of "sand dancing," as made famous by tapper Howard "Sandman" Sims back in the 1950s. The scraping sound of the sand under the dancers' feet adds a different kind of aural texture to the choreography.
Enjoy! And seriously, let's get this #TappyFriday thing going, guys.
It's #BeyDay (Beyoncé, y'all!) and we're celebrating here at Dance Spirit.
You know Chloé Arnold, Her Holiness of tap, has worked with Beyoncé before, right? Maybe it's because they both have the "é" in their names. (BRB, renaming myself Alisoné, and perhaps I can get the hookup, too.)
The video—which has everyone here at the DS office dying to put on our tap shoes right this very second—also features former Dance Spirit cover girls Melinda Sullivan and Maud Arnold as part of the Syncopated Ladies. This isn't the first time this girl group has taken on a pop hit and made it sound even better.
I think we can officially state this for whatever record someone is keeping: Tap has never been hotter.
P.S. Who run the world? Girls. But, duh.
Any time Chloe and Maud Arnold—aka our favorite tapping sister duo—gift us with another Syncopated Ladies video, we get excited. Really excited. But today, they've given us something even better: stellar tapping, plus a discussion of the history of tap and why the art form still resonates. Their new video is part of TheRoot.com's Dances of the Diaspora series, which explores dances that originated in or were influenced by African culture.
We know, we know—any time you hear the word "history," you're inclined to roll your eyes and zone out. But the Arnolds' video is worth watching. You'll learn that tap is a purely American genre. You'll learn about its roots in slavery. You'll learn that it was passed down improvisationally, from foot to foot. "Nothing was written...unlike ballet, there is no syllabus," Maud says.
Check out the full interview below to learn more surprising facts, and for some fab footage of Chloe and Maud tapping a cappella—which we could watch them do for days on end.
We love, love, love it when fashion magazines do right by dance. And it's hard to do righter than Elle magazine's "The Movement" series—a collection of videos in which top-level dancers talk about their journeys and give intimate performances showcasing their talents.
"The Movement" isn't confined to a single dance genre; it includes stars from the worlds of ballet, tap, modern and commercial dance. And Elle lets each artist choose the topic of conversation in her video, which makes the clips deeply personal. They're more than just gorgeous—though, yes, they're definitely gorgeous, too.
We hear tapper Chloe Arnold talk about how she broke into tap's "boy's club":
American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston discusses dealing with criticism:
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Rachel McLaren talks about learning to embrace her body:
And commercial dancer Jessica Castro gives advice to aspiring professionals in "a letter to a young dancer":
Yes, Elle, YES. Watch the whole series here.
Remember just a few days ago when we reminisced about all our favorite dance-based commercials, and got hyped about the new Shoe Carnival commercial featuring Fik-Shun and Simrin Player?
Well watch out, Shoe Carnival, because there's a new back-to-school block party rolling through the halls, thanks to Macy's and Chloé Arnold. The locker-clad setting evokes memories of Britney Spears singing "...Baby One More Time," but the dancing is straight-up old-school 90s hip hop and funk.
Choreographed by Syncopated Ladies frontwoman and tap sensation Chloé Arnold, the campaign showcases young (and so cute) dancers (like DS favorite Devin Neal) busting a move in the school hallways—much to the initial chagrin of the onlooking teacher (who, of course, ends up joining in on the fancy-footworked fun). The video was shot by Nigel Dick, an iconic 90s director, and is set to "Me Myself & I" by De la Soul.
We may not be ready to go back to school, but we are definitely ready to do some back-to-school shopping—and dancing! Check it out...
Pretty much anything Chloé Arnold and her Syncopated Ladies get their hands/taps on is bound to be fantastic. But the crew seems to have a special affinity for Beyoncé—as confirmed back in the day by Queen B herself (remember the Share Heard 'Round the World?), and as confirmed once again yesterday by the group's latest video, "Formation."
The Ladies' take on Beyoncé's internet-melting hit doesn't involve much in the way of fancy production values. That's not the point. Instead, we get two delicious minutes of unflinchingly bold, ingeniously musical tap choreography that just dares us to look away. It's the perfect showcase for the unique voices of the dancers—Chloé and Maud Arnold, Anissa Lee, Assata Madison, Orialis Ashley, Melinda Sullivan and Melissa Tannus—who are, as ever, brilliant.
The best part? At the end of the video, we see clips of women from studios around the world performing the same routine. It's the Syncopated Ladies' way of wishing us all a happy Women's History Month, and it's exactly what we all need for #MotivationMonday.
There are countless dance documentaries out there, covering everything from Elizabeth Streb's daredevilry to Justin Peck's work as a ballet choreographer to the global hip-hop community. We're lucky that there are so many filmmakers who want to capture dance—and so many dancers who take up the camera themselves!
Now, we can add another amazing film to the list: Tap World. The documentary features interviews with tap masters like Chloe Arnold (who, along with her sister Maude, is the producer. #unstoppable) and Michelle Dorrance, but it also has a special twist. In preparation, the producers asked people all over the world to share why tap is important to them—and some of their personal stories were included in the film! What an amazing way to show how tap, which is an American dance form, has become a global phenomenon. And to remind us that all dancers are connected through rhythm and music.
The film will be released in NYC on July 10, and will be rolled out nation-wide after that. Click here for the deets and watch the trailer below!