Since the untimely death of Prince last month, artists all over the world have honored the Purple One with heartfelt tributes—from the Hamilton cast's "Let's Go Crazy" post-show party to Madonna's (somewhat controversial) performance at the Billboard Music Awards last night. But there's something about dancers' Prince salutes that feels especially apt. Maybe because the man himself was such a great dancer. Or because he was instrumental in promoting the work of many talented dancers—Misty Copeland included—over the course of his career. Or because so much of his music just seems MADE for dance.
This weekend, the always fantastic Syncopated Ladies released a touching Prince tribute video. In true #SyncLadies fashion, it's a simple but tonally spot-on piece of pure-dance perfection—just seven of the group's members getting down to "When Doves Cry" (a vinyl recording, no less) in a sunlit studio. How did we never realize that this song was ideally suited to sexy, girl-power tap?
Thank you, Syncopated Ladies. Thank you, Prince. ????
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.
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.
It's a well-known fact that the Syncopated Ladies always slay. They're probably as flawless when they're doing their laundry as they are when they're dancing. You won't be surprised, then, to see their latest music video to Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen."
There are three main reasons to love this video: It's shot in Dubai (!); The ladies are looking fierce and sounding crystal clear; It's called T(r)ap Queens—get it? Puns #ftw!
The video was inspired by one of Oprah Winfrey's quotations: "Think Like A Queen. A Queen is not afraid to fail, failure is another stepping stone to greatness." Fortunately, we have the Syncopated Ladies to show us some of the many ways queens can look: Grooving in the desert, strutting on the beach or showing off their skills on the dance floor.
What makes you feel like a dancing queen? Let us know in the comments! #girlpower
If you count yourself among the "Mad Men"-obsessed, this is probably an emotional week for you. On the one hand, you're stoked for Sunday's series finale, and you've already started planning your 1960s-inspired menu for the big event. (Ambrosia salad and shrimp cocktail, anyone?) But parting is such sweet sorrow, and you might not be ready to say "goodbye."
"Game of Thrones" fans need not feel such nostalgia; as long as George R.R. Martin keeps writing those books (which, albeit, is not a certitude...), there will be plenty more Sunday night suspense for them. (Disclaimer: Said fans should definitely be 17+!) But considering the fact that almost all the good characters have bit the dust, it's not all smiles and giggles for "Thrones" fans either.
So how do you console the melancholy TV viewers of America? Give 'em what they love: music, tap dance and PUPPIES! Syncopated Lady (and 2012 Capezio A.C.E. Award-winner) Melinda Sullivan teamed up with jazz chamber ensemble Rozalia, fellow percussionist Aaron Serfaty and her dog Wobbles to create a "Mad Men"/ "Game of Thrones" mashup, "Mad Game."
Notice how I said, "fellow percussionist"? That's because this video really emphasizes the role of tapper-as-musician. Sullivan dons a head set, just like the rest of the performers, and the video doesn't only focus on her or her feet. It also focuses on Serfaty's hands, on pianist Nikos Syropoulos' fingers and on the bows of the cellists and violinist. That means that it's often just the crystal clear sounds of Sullivan's taps, accenting the appropriately epic combo of iconic theme songs, that let us know she's still there, tappin' away. Check it out!
JT on the cover of "GQ" magazine as the 2013 Man of the Year (photo by Sebastian Kim, via GQ)
Valentine's Day may be over, but today, we'd like to talk about a couple things that make us #swoon.
First: Justin Timberlake. I'll admit I was slow to fall under his spell. (Back in the day, when you had to choose between the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, I was #teambackstreet.) But once JT started bringing sexy back as a solo artist, I realized the error of my ways—and I fell hard. He can sing (obviously), he can dance, he's funny, he's friends with Jimmy Fallon(!!!)...seriously, what more could you ask for in a man?
Buuut I digress, because today isn't #ManCrushMonday. It's #WomanCrushWednesday. Or should we say, #WomenCrushWednesday, because today, we're hard-core crushin' on The Syncopated Ladies. Yes, we basically freak out every time they release a new video. But can you blame us? Talk about bringing sexy back: These ladies show us how strength and power can go hand-in-hand with femininity and grace. Plus, they can tap like it's nobody's business...so there's that.
It's been a while since The Ladies have released a new video for us to swoon over. So when we found out Chloé Arnold and Sheryl Murakami released a new collaborative video on Saturday—to the music of none other than Justin Timberlake—it was pretty much the best Valentine's Day gift we could've asked for.
Enough gushy talk. Check out!