Dance News

It's #BeyDay (Beyoncé, y'all!) and we're celebrating here at Dance Spirit.

First, this.

Then, this:

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.

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Any time Chloe and Maud Arnoldaka our favorite tapping sister duogift 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 knowany 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.

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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.

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The Syncopated Ladies on set for their "So You Think You Can Dance" appearance (Courtesy Syncopated Ladies)

NYC, you don't know what's coming for you.

You've seen them battle it out on "So You Think You Can Dance," you've read about their incredible journey in our October issue and you've watched them beast video after video after video. To quote founder Chloé Arnold in her interview with DS, "The Syncopated Ladies are here, and [they're] here to stay."

Lucky for us New Yorkers, the Ladies' next stomping ground of choice is none other than the Big Apple. This November, they're bringing their wildly successful Syncopated Ladies Boot Camp to the East Coast. Intermediate/advanced and pro tappers will spend three days learning Syncopated Ladies repertory, taking technique, improvisation and specialty classes and hangin' with some of the fiercest women out there.

The boot camp will run from November 7–9. Click here to register, and check out their cute promo video of footage from their L.A. camp last spring:

Not a tapper? No worries—there's something for you, too. The Syncopated Ladies will host a concert after the first day of boot camp (November 7) at the Gerald Lynch Theatre. Oh, and btws, it's free! Click here to reserve your tickets, then check out the trailer below:

Dance News

If America didn't already know that the Syncopated Ladies are EVERYTHING, it sure does now. By competing in the first "So You Think You Can Dance" crew battle (and winning, of course), Chloé Arnold and her ladies have reminded everyone that it's girls who run the world.

#SYTYCDLadiesFTW

But we've been mega-fans of these tantalizing tappers for quite some time. They've done so much for female hoofers by proving that tap can be feminine/flirty AND sexy/strong (at the same time!).

So that's why, today, we're asking: Can we be Syncopated Ladies when we grow up? Please?

If you have similar aspirations, we have good news. This summer in L.A., Chloé and Maud productions will host a Syncopated Ladies Boot Camp. From July 12–14, participants will get five hours of training per day, with lessons in Syncopated Ladies repertoire, tap technique, improvisation, hip hop, and Afro-funk. Plus, they'll enjoy additional events, like beach workouts (yes please!) and a Women Empowerment Workshop.

Interested? Click here for more information on what to expect and how to register—then get ready to get your #girlpower on.

 

Dance News

Here at DS, we're huge fans of Chloé Arnold's Syncopated Ladies. We've been in love with them ever since they gave Rihanna's "Where Have You Been" a tap-tastic makeover back in 2012. I mean, talk about girl power: Arnold and her ladies (including her sister Maud and Melinda Sullivan—both former DS cover models) bring the strength AND the sexy every time they perform.

Their recent tribute to Beyoncé (set to "End of Time") was certainly no exception. Yep, that day we learned some basic math: Beyoncé + The Syncopated Ladies = pure magic. Queen Bey agreed, and she posted this on her Facebook wall on January 9:

To thank Beyoncé for the shout out, the Syncopated Ladies got to work on another tap tribute, this one set to "Flawless." They released the video earlier this month, and we may or may not have stopped watching it since...

Syncopated Ladies, you truly are flawless.

Dancer to Dancer

Audiences around the U.S. may know Sydney Burtis as ballet girl Keeley Gibson from the national Broadway tour of Billy Elliot. But with a passion for rhythm and feet that won’t quit, the 13-year-old is really a tap dancer at heart. Last summer, she won Junior Miss Adrenaline at Nationals—the first female tapper to ever earn one of the competition’s national titles. And recently, Sydney tapped her way into Tap World, a documentary produced by tap sensations Chloé and Maud Arnold.

"My mentor, Danny Wallace, and I have such a great bond. When we tap together, it’s like we’re one person."

Fast Facts

(Photo by Visual Tech Productions)

Birthday: August 7, 2000

Studio: Performer’s Edge Dance Center in Davenport, FL

Who would play her in a movie: Shirley Temple. “She was an amazing tap dancer.”

Hidden talent: Reciting the number pi to more than 60 decimal places

If she were a superhero, her super power would be: “Never getting tired. It upsets me when I’m at a dance festival exhausted. Even though my brain and heart really want to keep going, my feet and body can’t. It’s frustrating!”

The strangest thing in her dance bag: “A screwdriver, in case my taps come loose.”

Performer she’d Love to work with: “If he were still alive, Michael Jackson. His lyric—‘If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change’—really speaks to me.”

Dream dance role: “I would love to be in one of Savion Glover’s tap shows. It would be such a privilege to stand onstage with the professional tap dancers who inspire me each day.”

Hoofer Maud Arnold shares why she's happiest making music with her feet. (photo by Cristiano Prim)

1. Tap is by the people, for the people. Anyone can tap: young, old, skinny, fat, tall, short. There’s no discrimination.

2. Being a tapper means I get to work with my sister, Chloé! Creating the D.C. Tap Festival has been a dream come true for both of us.

3. Tap is so much fun to teach. I love sharing my stories and obstacles with young people in hopes of inspiring the next generation of tap dancers.

4. To tap-dance is to be powerful. Tap has given me self-esteem and confidence. It has taught me the value of persistence and hard work—and how to be eloquently spontaneous.

5. Tappers cherish, regard and honor our elders. I have learned so many life lessons from tap masters, including Harold Cromer, Dianne Walker, Jimmy Slyde and Buster Brown.

6. The tap family spans the globe. I have friends all over the world who share my passion. Even if we don’t speak the same language, we can connect on the dance floor.

7. Tap is boundless. There’s always a new step, a new rhythm, a new story to be explored.

(courtesy Maud Arnold)

8. Tap lets me be a musician. A blind person can enjoy a tap show just as much as—perhaps more than—someone who can see. To be both a musician and a dancer is awesome.

9. People get excited when I tell them I’m a tap dancer. The world loves tap and needs more of it!

10. Tap lets me live my dream. I wake up every day as a professional tap dancer. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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