Syncopated Ladies LIVE! is an all-female troupe of tap dancers who are changing the art form of tap with their stunning hypnotic and rhythmic performances.
The group is the brainchild of Washington D.C.-native and Emmy Award-nominated tap dancer and choreographer Chloé Arnold, who owes its formation to some advice from “Fame” actress and dancing legend, Debbie Allen.
“Syncopated Ladies began in 2003, when I realized that there wasn’t a lane for Black women in tap to be the leading voice or to even have opportunities on Broadway shows, except for in the chorus and so, Debbie Allen encouraged me to do my own thing, and I did just that,” says Arnold. “I started with a group of young girls ranging in age from 11 to 22. And in one of her dance studios, which she gave us for free to train and practice, we started developing what is known as Syncopated Ladies.”
Three of the women who were in the original company as kids are still members today, and Arnold calls it “absolutely rewarding” to see what can transpire over 20 years of unity, friendship and sisterhood.
“What I’m most proud about in regard to expanding the minds of audiences is that I think they start to see tap as an art and that it is not one note, one tune, one way, but instead that it is cool and cutting edge and can explore so many incredible feelings. And I think that’s what our show does, it shows you how tap can be done in infinite ways.”
Those in our area can see that for themselves as Chloé Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies LIVE! will be tapping into people’s hearts at the Center for the Arts at George Mason University on February 25.
“What you will see in the Syncopated Ladies concert tour is an exhilarating night of high-level tap dancing,” Arnold says. “Incredibly expressive movement, inspiring and aspirational storytelling with very cutting-edge multimedia.”
Even if you’ve seen these incredible dancers before live or as one of the 100 million views the company has racked up on YouTube, each performance is different.
“The cool thing is that the show has a lot of improv in it. So, then by nature of there being improv, you’ll never see the same show twice,” Arnold says. “Maybe it’s with a new song that comes out and we update it. And then we update based around a new piece of work we’ve done or something that we really want to include.”
The cast of the tour depends on availability because a lot of the members are busy working on films, television and the live tour.
“But it’s always our core Syncopated Ladies who are just absolutely phenomenal artists,” Arnold says. “I think it’s so important in life to step out of your house at this moment, to step out to experience something that will uplift you that you never have experienced before. That will hopefully help you tap into your greater self and your infinite possibilities, because that’s what we’re there to do by way of us sharing our authenticity and our truth through our art and entertainment.”
Arnold’s goal is to inspire others and she hopes the show will bring a new generation of tap audiences.
“It’s great for young people to get into tap because, I think most importantly when you’re expressing yourself, you’re finding empowerment, you’re finding your voice, and I think that’s just so important for young girls to have a sense of self-empowerment and self-love,” she says. “It’s not about if someone’s going to become a professional tap dancer or not. It’s really just about making someone feel great, so that when they walk out into the world, they feel proud of who they are and where they come from. They’re tapped in, and that way whatever they do they’ll find success and joy.”
Chloé Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies LIVE! performs at 8 p.m. on February 25 at the Center for the Arts. Tickets start at $29. For more information, visit cfa.calendar.gmu.edu.
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