Tap dancing is life for Chloe and Maud Arnold. For these sisters who have been tap dancing since they were kids, the art form has provided them with a career and a way to sustain the practice created by Black Americans.
The duo —taught and mentored by Debbie Allen— has gained in popularity with the formation of their troupe, Syncopated Ladies. And off the heels of a sold-out show in Los Angeles, with Allen and Shonda Rhimes sitting in the audience, the Arnold sisters are hoping that it is a sign of things to come.
“For women of tap it’s a sign of women empowerment, to tell stories, and create a whole new movement around the art of tap dancing,” explained Chloe.
Enter Queen Bey.
When Beyoncé caught wind of their tap-dancing video to her hit song “Formation,” she posted it on her website. Soon after they became a viral sensation with millions of views.
The sisters are now hoping that they can continue to draw attention to the fact that tap dancing is still a lit art form, for women of color.
“This art form has always been male dominated. We grew up always wanting and dreaming of becoming tap dancers but not seeing the representation,” explained Chloe. “So for us, it has become our dream, our passion, and our vision to change the way that people see tap dance for women.”
She added what makes their approach different is how they treat the tap dancer as a featured vocalist. “We are creating rhythm, syncopation, and through that our body movements is reflective of the uniqueness of the style of the rhythm.”
The sisters have tap danced their way into the newest GAP ad campaign. “We are extremely grateful [that] we got to do what we do, and that’s represent tap dance in the campaign,” said Maud.
In the GAP commercial, their footwork is accentuated by their own tap dance Chloe and Maud shoe, sold through Bloch. “It’s very sleek. We are very excited to be African-American women in with a major dance brand,” explained Maud. The $95 shoe launches in September.
What’s next for the Syncopated Ladies? They will continue tapping their way across stages, but they are also hoping to fill a void. “There are so many young girls that are training in tap dance. A lot of girls are giving up on their dreams because they don’t see an outlet for them to work and share their art. We are trying to fill that gap so they can express themselves and pursue their dreams. We want to celebrate women in this art form,” said Chloe.
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