Feeling uninspired? Maud Arnold says she has a cure: the DC Tap Fest at DC Dance Collective from April 15 to 17.
Arnold and her sister, Chloe, are presenting their tap event for the third year in an effort to breathe new life into the Washington area’s tap community. Professional dancers and D.C. area natives, the Arnolds also run Chloe & Maud Productions, which beats the drum for tap dancing with periodic dance workshops and lessons.
“Tap dance is such an important and vital art form to our history as Americans,” Arnold says. “We are striving to being the worldwide tap community together in D.C.”
The three days of performances and lessons will be jampacked, says Arnold, 24, but the highlight may well be the old-fashioned “Cutting Contest,” in which contenders will tap back and forth in an improvisational battle, to be judged on musicality, style and creativity. There is no age limit, and the stakes are set high, as the winner will take home a cash prize and a new set of tap shoes, in addition to a year’s worth of bragging rights.
Since the inception of the competition, more than 50 scholarships have been provided to the festival for eager dancers, helping to provide a strong base for beginners and seasoned vets who are eager to learn more about the craft. There will be more than 30 classes for all levels and ages during the weekend, which expands beyond tap into musical theater, spoken word, an oral history session and a panel discussion with D.C. dance teachers and artists.
Evening activities will include a Friday-night jam session with live music; a Saturday-evening concert honoring Emmy-winning choreographer Jason Samuels Smith, with a performance by singer and D.C. native Mya; and a Sunday-night student showcase, where participants can present their own solos or dance numbers and be given critiques by the professionals on hand.
And then there’s that cutting contest. Participants and onlookers who come with an open mind will have the best time of their lives, Arnold promises. “You will feel inspired when you leave, for sure.”
Arnold says she and her sister “plan to do this every year until we are at the Kennedy Center performing.”
DC Dance Collective is located at 4908 Wisconsin Ave. NW. A pass to the three-day festival ranges from $185 to $260. Tickets to individual classes and events are also available. For more information, visit www.dctapfestival.com, e-mail