Syncopated Ladies dance their way into the boys club of tap
Mentored by Debbie Allen, the two Los Angeles sisters behind Syncopated Ladies are bending the tap genre for modern audiences and carving out their place in what traditionally has been a tap-dancing boys club.
“Women are taught to follow the rules, to be quiet, to ask permission,” Arnold said, referring to the deep cultural norms that help to explain why so many aspiring female dancers did not see a place for themselves in tap. “When you’re dealing with improvisation and freestyle, there is no asking permission.”
It requires courage, she said. “A lot of courage.”
But seeing the group of women dancing without confines, inspiration struck.
“I thought these are sisters I need to bring together to create something,” she said.
So Arnold, along with her sister and fellow tap dancer Maud Arnold, recruited tappers for an all-women group called the Syncopated Ladies.”