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Meet Assata Madison

Today we’d like to introduce you to Assata Madison.

Assata, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started dancing at an early age and tap dance has always been my favorite dance style. I started training professionally at the world-renowned Universal Dance Designs under brother-sister-duo Paul and Arlene Kennedy. While dancing, I was always active in other activities, learning different things, and wanted to be multi-faceted. Later in my teens, I stopped dancing but soon revisited it while studying Math as an undergraduate at UCLA. I felt the need to maintain my balance while a student there and leaned towards tap dancing again as a positive outlet and healing tool. I soon fell in love with tap dance again and started immersing myself in the tap dance community in Los Angeles and across the country. After graduating from UCLA with a Bachelors of Science in Statistics, I became a member of the all ladies tap band, Syncopated Ladies created by Chloe Arnold. We have over 50+ million views online and have worked with Beyonce and toured our full-length show, “Syncopated Ladies: Live.”

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In my 20s, I lacked confidence and was very shy. Through tap dance, I was able to find the courage to share my voice and talents because it is an art form based on improvisation and freedom of expression, and rooted in experiences of my people of the African Diaspora. I had this new sense of pride in who I was and where I came from and wasn’t afraid to share my culture and heritage with others. Being a part of Syncopated ladies has also helped me gain the confidence to express my voice as a young lady from the Afro-Diaspora. African American women tap dancing sisters and producing duo Chloe and Maud Arnold have always focused on women empowerment and self-love. It has been an empowering experience to be a part of Syncopated Ladies and my goal is to do the same and encourage my community to find their purpose and sense of pride in who they are and where they come from.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
As a tap dancer, community activist, and teacher, I am able to provide a positive outlet for my community and uplift our youth. I perform and teach tap dance around the country and internationally. As a community activist, I am a member of Wisdom From The Field, where we provide services such as free diapers and food to our community who are under-resourced and under-valued. I teach tap dance at local dance studios and through The Chloe & Maud Foundation Tap into Life program. I also tutor Math in my community. I am most proud of my ability to be visible in my community and share my talents and services while still performing and traveling as a tap dancer.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I personally define success as doing things that I love and make me proud, a thriving family and community, and fulfilling my purpose. I find my purpose in life is to encourage the next generation to have pride in themselves and where they come from and to have faith in each other to create a healthy, loving community. In the African American community, we are often taught to rely solely on others and not ourselves. I find success when building together with my community, creating a sense of accomplishment, pride, and self-love.

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