DC Tap Festival Makes its Debut

Andrea S. McPherson | 4/8/2009, 1:13 p.m.

The arts have been a beacon for The District since the days of Langston Hughes; when U Street was known as known as the €Black Broadway€. From April 17th through the 19th, D.C. will be alight with dance during the DC Tap Fest, presented by Chloe and Maud Productions. The festivities will run include dance classes, showcases and jam sessions. The headliner of this three-day festival will be the All-Star Concert on the 18th at the Duke Ellington Theatre in NW Washington, DC and will feature celebrated teachers of dance, Metropolitan Youth Ensemble, Metro Tap, Tappers with Attitude, Taps Co. Alumni and other special guests.The events that culminated in the DC Tap Fest are elements that also comprise the history of tap dance and what makes it the entity that it is today; passion and inspiration. At the helm of this event are two mavens of art and dance, Chloe and Maud Arnold. At the age of six, Chloe Arnold began tap at since and said she simply €fell in love.€

Years down the road, she would find herself auditioning for Savion Glover€s €crew€ of tappers. After a successful audition cam a month of intensive rehearsals and the opportunity to repeat the opportunity of a lifetime for three years in a row. Chloe would also have the chance to perform at the Kennedy Center as well as a Broadway showcase in New York City. €Tap has so many possibilities,€ says Chloe, €I believe in living up to our elders and learning from the past.€

To further strengthen her resume, Chloe also auditioned for world renowned dancer Debbie Allen and subsequently performed in three of her stage plays, €[Performing for Debbie Allen] pushed me even further into the arts and inspired me.€ Now, 10 years after attending school at Columbia University, Chloe finds herself in her seventh year with the LA Tap Fest, presented by the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles, California.

The LA Tap Fest serves as the catalyst behind DC€s own DC Tap Fest. €Our goal is to get people excited about the art form,€ explains Chloe, €Younger generation has not been exposed in the same way that the older generation has.€

Chloe€s younger sister, Maud, a recent graduate of Film from Columbia University, has in some ways learned from her past, as she was taught tap by Chloe starting at age 7, €It was fun and annoying,€ Maude says about having being a pupil of her older sister. Maude was also offered scholarships to Debbie Allen€s summer intensive, €It was a very eclectic group of kids who were also on scholarship.€ Maude has now been teaching for five years with Debbie Allen€s summer intensives in Dallas Ft. Worth and Houston, Texas. Maude is currently working on a feature film utilizing tap as a main element in the script.

€We want young kids inspired to put some shoes or come to another dance event,€ Chloe said.