As a child my parents let me play every instrument I found remotely interesting. They allowed me to take every type of dance I wanted. And they supported my dreams of becoming a stage star. Perhaps, if I stuck to any of my artistic inclinations, I’d be somebody’s B-list star. But I didn’t and so here we are. 🙂
My love for the arts clearly stems from my childhood and the exposure I had to its various disciplines. If it had not been for music, dance and theater, I’m not sure who I would be today. Sisters, Chloe and Maud Arnold would agree- especially as it relates to the dance art of tap.
Chloe and Maud are the phenomenal tap dance duo behind DC TapFest. Hosted by DC Tap Collective, DC Tap Fest is an annual event that brings tap dancers from around the globe together to celebrate this wonderful form of dance. This past Saturday, DC Tap Fest held it’s 4th Annual Concert that showcased a number of tap artists but most importantly, it also raised money to provide scholarships for kids to be able to learn the art of tap dancing.
You see, Chloe and Maud are products of dance scholarships. From an early age the selflessness of others made a huge impact on their lives. “When Chloe and I started our dance company we said we would not turn anybody down because of financial strains. So our scholarships are based on need, not merit.” Their company travels and they have learned, ‘the students who need it most usually can’t afford it”, Maud explained. And it’s the students who need it most, if given the chance, who get the most out of the experience.
The arts in all forms serve as an outlet for many of the at-risk students who take part in them. “When you give kids something that makes them feel important and special, it just makes them better human beings and citizens of the world”, Maud passionately told me. To complement that Chloe shared she has, “watched this [tap dancing] save lives….Life after life after life.” This is the power of the arts. Anything that has the power to save a child’s life should be worth the investment to make sure it is available in abundance.
DC Tap Fest is just one of many dance programs that bring the power of the arts to children. The MusicianShip facilitates music lessons and musical experiences to at-risk youth in the Washington, DC area. ArtScape, the summer arts program for kids 4-11, at my arts alma mater, Harlem School or the Arts. Both Dance Theater of Harlem and Alvin Ailey offer dance scholarships and or educational outreach programs for inner city students. Black Girls Rock has a DJ Academy. Rosie’s Theater Kids for theater. And there’s the widely recognized Save The Music program run by VH1. The list goes on…
Imagine what your life would be like without music or dance or theater or a canvas to paint. Crazy, huh? Chloe hit the nail on the head as she shared her favorite part of being dance teacher, “Seeing someone overcome their fear. Once you can overcome your fear in dance you can take it and transfer it everything else in life.” The same can be said for any form of art. Once you conquer a dance move, play 16 bars or even command a stage, you truly feel like you can do anything. Our kids deserve that feeling.
Art is a powerful thing. Let’s make sure our kids have it- in abundance. You can financially support any of the organizations mentioned above. Or use the talents you still have by volunteering your time for example, as a DJ instructor, a creative dance class for an after-school program, or a visual arts class for special needs students. Find a few arts programs in your area through New York Cares, DC Cares or VolunteerMatch.
Thanks to Chloe and Maud for having me as a press guest on Saturday at DC Tap Fest. The show was AHmazing! Makes me want to dust off my tap shoes! 🙂 Keep up with the ladies via Chloe and Maud Productions.
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