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JADEN F. (NEW YORK CITY)

"The first time I heard of Chloé and Maud Arnold was through DC Tap Fest’s advertising. It was nothing like I had ever seen before. My first thought was “There is so much positivity here...it’s weirding me out.” Maybe that’s just how I was raised as a dancer. My past teachers, with so much love and the highest levels of respect for them, were hard on my brother Ellis and I... with that came extremely, sometimes painfully honest feedback. So when I saw the inclusion, optimism, and diversity of skill levels at this event hosted by Chloe and Maud, I was skeptical, to say the least. We went to DC Tap Fest in 2019. Looking back at old Instagram posts, it’s crazy how much we’ve changed since then... I felt out of place, in a good way. I was stepping into a new environment that I soon was going to love and adapt into my everyday life.

As the years went on, Chloé and Maud watched us grow. Not just as dancers, but as people. They provided us with more and more opportunities. As I’ve gotten to really know them, I started to view dance differently... dance became a way to make people feel joy, and to include others in the conversation... I started implementing what I learned into other aspects of my life and saw incredible results because of it. Things really started to grow for me in high school, when Ellis and I were interns for DC Tap Fest 15 in 2023. Not only did we get the chance to work closely with Chloé and Maud, but we also got the opportunity to help others... Simple things like working at the merchandise table, regis- tering people for classes, and even directing people on which room was which helped me learn a number of things that I can take with me to other jobs and careers. It wasn’t just more ink for my resume, it was the perfect opportunity to grow as a person.

The summer of 2023... Chloé and Maud gave us an incredible gift and got us to Los Angeles for a week to intern at the Hollywood Tap Festival. It was a summer I will truly never forget... I met the most amazing people, got to assist and befriend some of the greatest tap dancers in the world, and performed with my brother in front of Debbie Allen. I am incredibly blessed to be in the position I am in, and to have close connection with Chloe and Maud Arnold, though every day I question what I did to deserve this...

I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t met Chloé and Maud Arnold. The reason I even became a film major was because of them, with the vision of putting tap dance on film like it was so many years ago. They say never meet your heroes, but I think this is a pretty good exception. Ultimately, I want to have the power to inspire like they have inspired me. In 10 years, I strive to be the same way; successful and kind."

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