"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Tap dancer and choreographer extraordinaire Chloe Arnold was inspired by these words from Martin Luther King, Jr. to create a piece in solidarity with the #SayTheirNames movement (a campaign to highlight stories of police brutality as told by the victims' families).
Released earlier this week, the heartbreakingly beautiful clip stars Vikas Arun, Jabu Graybeal, and Gerson Lanza, all dancers with Arnold's Apartment 33 company. Watch closely: Reigning NYCDA National Teen Male Outstanding Dancer David Keingatti also makes a memorable cameo towards the end.
First, huge congrats to the five exceptional choreographers nominated for 2018 Emmy Awards. These days, with all the fabulous dancing happening on the small screen, the choreo category is routinely stacked. But the 2018 group—Chloe Arnold (a first-timer!), Mandy Moore, Travis Wall, Al Blackstone, and Christopher Scott—was even more stacked than usual. Seriously, we didn't know who to root for going into this weekend's Creative Arts Emmys ceremonies.
So, who took home the top prize last night, during the second evening of the two-night Creative Arts Emmys extravaganza?
What do you do when the DC Tap Festival coincides with a history-making protest? You dance about it.
Maud Arnold is one of the busiest tap dancers on the planet. As a member of the Syncopated Ladies, Maud—along with her big sis and fellow tapper Chloé Arnold—is on constantly the road for performances, workshops, and master classes. For the average person, that kind of schedule could lead to a serious derailment of healthy habits. But Maud's far from average. Here's how the fit, fierce, flawless tap star stays stage-ready—no matter what time zone she finds herself in.
Are your moves smooth and sexy like Chloé Arnold's tapping Syncopated Ladies, or is your dancing bubblegum sweet like the girls of Suga N Spice? Behold, the answer:
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...
Get Dance Spirit in your inbox
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!
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
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!
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: