Saturday, August 5, 2017

Arnold sisters tap, make dreams at Lincoln Center OOD

Chloe Arnold (left) and Maud Arnold
(photo: Vaughn Dabney)

In the field of tap, dancer-choreographers Chloe Arnold and Maud Arnold stake out territory in a place of contemporary sound and attack, aiming to take the art of tap to folks whose tastes run to music styles like R'n'B, rock, funk, rap and Latin pop. Did you make it to last evening's Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors performance of Where Dreams Are Made in Hearst Plaza, featuring the Arnold sisters and their Apt. 33 troupe? If so, you heard, among other things, Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You," Sean Paul's "So Fine," John Legend's "Ordinary People" and "Glory," Beyoncé's "Run the World," Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk," Andra Day's "I Rise Up," Eminem's "Not Afraid," Jay Z's "Empire State of Mind" and a trio of Prince bestsellers. You also heard, from one song to the next, the troupe layering on a fairly uniform staccato, hard-heeled, hard-charging tap in their rangy, loose-limbed style. Power tap for the people!

Apt. 33 re-envisions Eminem's "Not Afraid" in Charles Renato's 2016 video, featuring is That Asha.

Where Dreams Are Made seemed overly segmented, each bit limited by the length of its popular song and encouraged to lock itself within a certain forceful register (even if, as in "Ordinary People," the song seemed to call for a more vulnerable approach). The sisters' in-between patter advocated more love and unity and sisterhood/brotherhood and exhortations to affirm ourselves as "amazing." I can appreciate that; the Arnolds absolutely do physical and psychic upbeat like nobody's business. Their entire project is the dance equivalent of an energy drink. But as a fan of tap (and, maybe, because I'm an introvert), I also have a longing for some of the other things tap has always done well--softness, juicy lyricism and fine, adroit detail, soulful reflection and nuance, sound that goes on walkabout, winding us through diverse terrains where new, unprecedented things await discovery. I love, sometimes, to hear "I love you" whispered, not always a shout.

Where Dreams Are Made has concluded, but you will find a world of interesting, free events at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, now through August 13, by clicking here.

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