Photography by Lee Gumbs for Inside Dance – Hair by Richard Glass – Makeup by Rolanda Catapano
What does an Inside Dance cover shoot look like?
Let September/October 2022 Cover Stars Chloe and Maud show you!
“Chloe and Maud Arnold are two of my favorite people in the world. I love how they have grown up like sponges, absorbed all the creativity around them, ingested it and created their own model.” – Debbie Allen
Chloe and Maud Arnold – Amplifying Art, Magnifying the Positive!
Sisters Chloe and Maud Arnold, the strong women behind the LA-based Female Tap Dance Band The Syncopated Ladies, are activating and inspiring a new generation of dancers across the world to feel empowered and equitable, and to dream their biggest dreams.
Hailing from Washington, DC and growing up “at risk,” the tap dance entrepreneurs took every job possible, and danced every moment possible in a one-room studio. Together with their unbelievable devotion, dedication, and the most passionate of mentors shaping their craft, the stage was set for a career that has taken the duo as far as they could possibly dream and more. Each step, each new endeavor is a reflection of each decision and each moment of hard work along the way. With their fierce footwork and feminine style, they have attracted audiences around the globe with cutting edge viral videos, including a “Tap Formation” video that Beyonce herself endorsed on both beyonce.com and with a live performance in London.
Graduates of Columbia University in Film, Chloe and Maud speak brightly and brilliantly, their eyes telling the true story of their journey and their goals for the future. They are consummate professionals and the ultimate trendsetters. They are full circle and determined to give back at every turn with joy and relentless love for their art. Together, they invoke a passion for dance, education and advocacy within the children they teach. As the legendary Debbie Allen describes them, “They are joyful, generous, gorgeous and I’m so proud to have played a part in their development as new-generation female moguls.”
Through countless projects, programs and performances, they have not only redefined tap dance, they’ve redefined what it means to be a Black woman in tap dance worldwide. Their DC Tap Fest, an International Tap Dance Festival, elevates, educates, and inspires generations of tap dancers and audiences from around the globe in the nation’s capitol each year. Their foundation, The Chloe & Maud Foundation, serves over 5,000 students from underserved communities all over the world and offers over $95,000 in scholarships. And while a 30-city Syncopated Ladies tour slated for fall is currently on hold due to COVID-19, the sisters are using this time, a pinnacle year they say, to really “fortify the show.”
Woven into the fabric of their current passion projects together, are solo acts and a strong devotion to amplifying and activating the continuity of their message. Recently, Maud made her directorial debut with a series of music videos for Billions star Condola ‘Dola’ Rashad’s solo debut EP, Space Daughter, a vivacious ode to the Divine Feminine. She also has an online podcast, a children’s book in the works called The Dream Savers featuring dance as the major component, dabbles in standup comedy, and writing. In July, the premiere of the film In A Beat was released starring Chloe as Angela Smith, a single mother to 11-year-old Darrel Smith, a young, black, autistic boy, and his experience being home alone for the first time and his unique way of coping with a meltdown.
Inside Dance spoke with Chloe and Maud via Zoom in a raw, moving conversation just prior to their Syncopated Ladies Empowerment Camp in August, deep-diving into the message behind the event and how that message has shaped their own lives throughout their incredible journey as strong female entrepreneurs and artists. The conversation was a revealing look at their journey and how their profound ability to share their talents with the world, give back and create a movement for equality shines across every studio and stage.
Check out more from the shoot in the video below!
Inside Dance: Can you speak more to the direct influences in your life, your career and journey to the creation of The Syncopated Ladies?
Chloe: We were truly raised with the fabric of what sisterhood is. We grew up in what was very much a Syncopated Ladies situation without even knowing it. Then, we entered the real world. I’m at Columbia studying film and I’m one of the only Black students in all of my classes. I’m looking at the landscape of tap in New York and there are no Black women working. There are no shows with exceptional Black women tap dancers. And now, is the wake up call, the culture shock. I was raised in this unique scenario of empowerment and now, in a different way I’m feeling like my voice doesn’t even matter. That is where I experienced a lot of self-discovery. And, that is how Syncopated Ladies was born, because we had two very influential women, Debbie Allen and Miss Toni, [in our lives]. When an artist like Debbie Allen comes to DC because she cares about giving back and understands in real terms what we’re facing… She created a bridge for us to go beyond that one-room studio.
Maud: Debbie Allen was also a big advocate for education. She and her sister Phylicia [Rashad] are graduates of Howard University and Debbie very much encouraged, “you’ve got to go get that education.” She was adamant about that.
Chloe: It was very helpful as we were navigating these tough situations, to have that guiding light – lessons that are in your heart and in your mind that are literally helping you through your day-to-day. When I graduated from Columbia, Debbie said we needed to move to LA because this is where we could thrive. I didn’t really understand why. When I got here, it all made sense. She allowed us to incubate Syncopated Ladies in her studio. That was 17 years ago, in 2003. the founding members – Anissa Lee, Melinda Sullivan, Maud and myself – are still with us, we are still together. We are a team, we are a family. We share our goals with one another and we foster each other’s dreams. That’s really how we were raised, but sometimes you don’t connect the dots until you’re a little away from it.
Maud: [Now] You think, ‘Oh, I was an at-risk kid,’ but I didn’t think of myself in that way because I feel so empowered now. But, it’s true. That’s absolutely why we have such an affinity for kids who were us and are us growing up now.
You can see the full interview in the September/October issue of Inside Dance!