The Hollywood Tap Fest, July 24 – 30, 2023 at The Shonda Rhimes Performing Arts Center is a feast of tap that you do not want to miss. Curated and produced by two professional tap dancers, Chloe and Maude Arnold, in partnership with award winning director, choreographer, and producer, Debbie Allen, it promises to be an exciting opportunity for people of all ages.
For Chloe and Maude Arnold it is truly a full circle moment. Both credit Debbie Allen with providing support, constant encouragement, and guidance in navigating their artistic careers. “Debbie Allen has been teaching us for 26 years. She has provided opportunities that have allowed us to fulfill our dreams in television, film, and on stage.” It was Ms. Allen who encouraged Chloe to attend Columbia University and complete her degree in film. Maude, after a fabulous visit to NYC and Columbia, made the decision to also attend Columbia University. The two have cultivated an enduring relationship with their alma mater that culminated in them being chosen to receive The Rising Star Award. The Rising Star Award is intended to recognize an emerging leader in higher education whose record reflects ongoing and exceptional growth in contribution to the profession and increased levels of leadership, responsibility, and sphere of impact. These sisters have become international tap stars and filmmakers due to their extremely successful all female tap company, Chloe’s Syncopated Ladies, and the Chloe and Maude Foundation. Syncopated Ladies’ viral videos have amassed over 100 million views. The Chloe and Maude Foundation has provided educational programming for more than 25,000 children all over the world and continues to inspire and education young people around the globe through dance and entrepreneurship.
This dynamic team has curated a tap festival led by a diverse and talented faculty providing dance instruction at all levels (seniors to babies) in Tap, Hip Hop, Afro-funk, Musical Theatre Tap, Stretch Warm-Up, Free Parent Work-out classes and Improvisation. Woven throughout the dance class schedule are lunch talks with leaders in the industry, history talks, mock auditions, and a jazz class taught by Debbie Allen, herself. Of special note is the Tap on Film workshop where dancers will learn how to write, shoot and edit their own stories. According to Maude, “I’m teaching the students how to create a story with the beginning middle and end and how to shoot a short film on their iPhones and on their mobile phone. What’s really exciting about that for me is showing young people and everybody, the power that we have with our cell phone and how we can utilize that and you can expand your mind and your network…”
Chloe will be orchestrating a tap video shoot. She described it as a “unifier,” “a video yearbook that says we were all here together in this time sharing our love for tap dance. It’s about being connected to an experience and a people and community that makes you feel loved and empowered and uplifted.” She will be teaching all students tap choreography to one song that will be performed, filmed and edited into a festival-wide music video.
This unstoppable team of strong women are certainly no strangers to providing opportunities for everyone in attendance to experience the pure joy of dance. There is a Tap Jam party, Teacher Tappy Hour, and Student Showcase and Cutting Contest. This trio of producers with Emmy Awards and nominations, a multitude of video, film, television, and movie credits, are committed to providing an All-Star Concert that will leave the audience feeling inspired and uplifted. The concert will be a celebration of Vivian Ayers Allen, mother of Debbie Allen. The matriarch will be celebrating her 100th birthday and she is a real tap lover and supporter. In addition to Syncopated Ladies, selected residency students and faculty will be performing.
All classes and events for The Hollywood Tap Fest will be held at The Shonda Rhimes Performing Arts Center, Home of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, 1850 South Manhattan Place, Los Angeles, CA 90019. The schedule and other information is available at www.hollywoodtapfest.com. You can purchase 1 class, 1 day, 1 weekend, or 1 week. This will be a veritable feast of tap dance that you do not want to miss!
Written by Leah Bass-Baylis for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: Syncopated Ladies Promo – courtesy of the artists.