Black Future Month // 2-3-11// The Arnold Sisters
Posted on February 3, 2011
You know the old adage: “Writing about Music is like dancing about architecture…” Or something to that effect.
Thus, I’m kind of stumped about how to begin this post. I suppose by the commutative property, I should be building something about the genius and choreography of Chloe and Maud Arnold. But I can’t spackle or tack nearly as well as they tap. All I have is a little bit of time and a couple of words. So here goes.
Maud and Chloe Arnold, originally from the Washington D.C. area, now split their time fairly evenly between Los Angeles, New York, and the airports in between.
I met Maud while she was a student at Columbia University. I marveled at her ability to effortlessly balance a full academic load while curating and hosting New York City’s only weekly tap-jam. Additionally she crewed and produced a number of music videos (yes, you’ve seen them) — and now she’s making her entree into writing and directing. In short, Maud Arnold: that’s a bad woman, right there. And right here:
And uh, imagine how I felt once I realized she has an equally talented, beautiful, enterprising, film directing, choreographing slightly older sister, Chloe. I first watched Chloe tear it up this time last year at the San Francisco Black Choreographer’s festival. Here’s more proof that she’s not to be effed with.
The ladies stay busy, both part of an elite circle of esteemed dancers who’ve taken on the arduous task of keeping tap history alive. That circle includes but is not limited to: actor-dancer Dule Hill of West Wing and Psych fame; brother-sister duo Josette and Joseph Wiggan; and I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention my good friend Jason Samuels Smith. Emmy winning Smith and Chloe are long time collaborators — you might remember their work in the feature film Idylwild.
As the under-represented art form evolves, Maud and Chloe innovate, and encourage their peers and students to do the same. Together, they pioneered and produced the first ever DC Tap Festival , now entering its third year. This year’s festival will happen between April 15th and 17th, just as Maud finishes a national tour with “Thank You, Gregory”, a tribute to the legends of tap. Meanwhile, Chloe’s one woman show is up in the New York City area February 11th -13th, 2011.
Black Future Month at Thickwit celebrates Maud and Chloe’s brilliance. Hope you enjoy this rare video of the two of them moving together.
And I got good home training, so no way I could do a Black Future post without including a little Black History. While I appreciate the nuanced modernization of the dance that The Arnold Sisters, The Wiggan Family and Jason bring, there’s an obvious parity to their predecessors, The Nicholas Brothers. This prompted me to include a not-so-rare clip of the brothers dancing in Stormy Weather. Cliche maybe, but arguably one of the best dance numbers, ever.
You can follow The Arnold Sisters at: www.maudarnold.com, www.chloearnold.com, or www.dctapfestival.com