Hoofer Awards

 

The annual Hoofer Award recognizes prominent tap artists as leaders in the community

for their unique contribution to the form and for inspiring future generations.


2019 - Chloe Arnold, tap dancer, prodder, director, model, and Emmy Award-nominated choreographer reigns among the generation of high-heeled and low-heeled women in tap who are expanding the expressive possibilities of tap to unrealized dimensions. Born in Washington, D.C., her French mother was a modern dancer and educator; her African-American father was a jazz enthusiast who played serious bebop. At age nine she auditioned for the National Tap Ensemble's junior company, Flying Feet (directed by Chris Baker), and taken into the company where she took master classes with Eddie Brown, Harriet Brown, LaVaughn Robinson, and Dorothy Wassermann. In 1990, Savion Glover auditioned and accepted the ten-year-old Arnold into his resident program at NTE, with Barbara Duffy as rehearsal director. She was accepted into Glover's workshop three years in a row, and in 1991 was taken to New York City to perform in “The Real Deal” in Frank Hatchet's Olympic Fever Showcase. In Washington, D.C., she studied with Toni Lombre, her first black female teacher who was the artistic director of Taps & Company. Lombre had performed on Broadway in Maurice Hines's Uptown…It's Hot! and with Mercedes Ellington's company DancEllington, and demanded that her dancers study ballet, jazz, and modern dance, as well as tap. Arnold joined Lombre's all-black female tap company and became a well-versed dancer. In 1998, on another visit to New York City, Arnold found herself backstage at Broadway's Ambassador Theater, participating in a pre-show tap jam with the all-black male cast of Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, directed by George C. Wolfe and choreographed by Savion Glover. “They were extremely supportive," Arnold recalled, “and it put my eyes up as to where my training needed to go.” She returned to New York later that year, enrolled as an undergraduate film major at Columbia University, but continuing to jam with the Noise/Funk dancers. In 1999, Arnold's musical-theatre career opened when Debbie Allen, director of the musical Soul Possessed, starring Patti LaBelle, cast Arnold as one of the dancers performing jazz and African dance as well as tap dance choreographed by the nineteen-year-old Noise/Funk star Jason Samuels Smith. That connection led Arnold into a professional relationship with Smith, marked by creativity, collaboration, and camaraderie. Arnold would dance Smith's choreography in the Emmy-award-winning Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon Lewis Telethon (2003); co-direct the Los Angeles Tap Festival (2003); join his company A.C.G.I. (Anybody Can Get It), and become one of his dancing muses in Charlie's Angels, a tap tribute to Charlie Parker (2006). Arnold was also fast becoming a singular figure as tap dancer, choreographer, and director, becoming the managing producer for Los Angeles-based Debbie Allen Dance Academy; directing her all-female tap ensemble, Syncopated Ladies, known for their highly-stylized videos and performances to popular music; and whose videos now have more than 50 million views online;

 

acting as the dance double for Beyoncé in her music video Upgrade U and the body double in Diva; making her film debut in Dean Hargrove's award winning Tap Heat (2004); appearing in the HBO/Universal Pictures release of Outkast's feature film Idlewild (2006); performing in the tap spectacular Imagine Tap! (2006), choreographed by Derick K. Grant; choreographing and starring in the live television opening number of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon (2008);  co-founding, with sister Maude, the Washington D.C. Tap Festival (2009); and producing and starring in the feature-length documentary Tap World (2015). In 2008, at the historic Women in Tap Conference at the University of California, Los Angeles, Arnold's feisty tap adaptation of the Maya Angelou poem, “Phenomenal Woman,” demonstrated her powers lay in “the span of my hips, the stride of my step. . .the swing in my waist, the joy in my feet. . . the click in my heels . . . I'm a woman. Phenomenal woman. That's me.” At age thirty-nine, Chloe’s professional career continues to skyrocket.  She has had a recurring role on HBO's hit series Boardwalk Empire as one of the Onyx Girls. She has guest performed on NBC's America's Got Talent, ABC’s Dancing With The Stars and FOX's So You Think You Can Dance. And in 2018 she received an Emmy nomination for her choreography for The Late Late Show with James Corden. While she had worked on more than thirty episodes, choreographing promos and other prime-time specials, this nomination recognized her choreography on Corden’s “Crosswalk the Musical” segment, a wacky tribute to “The Greatest Showman.”