Chloé Arnold on Rhythm and Making Connections

Photo courtesy of Chloé Arnold

As soon as she hears a song, Chloé Arnold knows if she wants to tap to it. "I'm a very feeling person. I like to feel the rhythm in my soul and feel like I have no choice but to dance," she says. "Tap is music, so it's a dual experience of creating. I hear rhythms in my head all day, and it's about how those rhythms, the tap rhythms, complement the rhythms that already exist in a song."


Arnold and her tap dance band, Syncopated Ladies, have recently garnered a lot of attention. “I always knew tap was what I wanted to do, and I wanted to put it on film and get it to the world," she says. They won the first dance crew battle on “So You Think You Can Dance," Season 11, and their YouTube views increased after Beyoncé shared their video to her song “Formation." Their performance on “Good Morning America" is Arnold's favorite moment as a performer and choreographer—so far.

When she teaches master classes, Arnold stresses to students the need for connection. “It's the ability to connect that makes an audience feel an artist," she says. “I want students to connect to the space we're in, the time we're sharing, with me and every other person in the room, with the music and with the movement. Through that connection, we're communicating."

Teacher Voices
Photo courtesy Rhee Gold Company

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a shift in our community that is so impressive that the impact could last long into our future. Although required school closures have hit the dance education field hard, what if, when looking back on this time, we see that it's been an incredible renaissance for dance educators, studio owners and the young dancers in our charge?

How could that be, you ask?

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Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

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Music
Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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