Letter to My Teenage Self: Claudia Rahardjanoto

Rahardjanoto in Barbara Duffy's Soldier's Hymn (photo by Timur Civan, courtesy Claudia Rahardjanoto)

Go see a tap show in NYC,  and there’s a pretty good chance Claudia Rahardjanoto will be dancing. As a top tap performer, choreographer and educator, she’s worked with countless leaders in the field—including Dianne Walker, Mable Lee, Barbara Duffy and Max Pollak. And you can’t miss her onstage: Rahardjanoto, who moved from Berlin to the U.S. in 2003, tops her crisp footwork with smooth arm motions and a calm, inviting smile, at once impressing audience members and putting them at ease. When she’s not performing, you can find Rahardjanoto leading open tap classes in Manhattan at American Tap Dance Foundation and Steps on Broadway, as well as at Broadway Dance Center during the summer. —Jenny Dalzell

Dearest Claudia,

First of all, I’m very proud of you. You’re doing well in every way.

Always give your best, wholeheartedly, no matter how big or small the task. You can’t go back in time, and you don’t want to regret not giving something your all. Remember that you can learn from every experience—good or bad. No experience is ever wasted as long

as you pay attention to the lessons that come with it.

You’ll soon realize it’s impossible to please everybody, and that’s OK. Focus your time and energy on trying to find your purpose in life—you’ve certainly moved closer to it by discovering tap dance. It’s going to be a wonderful journey!

Rahardjanoto (right) at 18, performing with Pascal Hulin (photo courtesy Rahardjanoto)

I know you’re nervous because you started tap dancing so late—you’re almost 15, after all. But trust that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. God’s timing is perfect. Pray and stay faithful—even if it doesn’t make any sense. Everything will happen in due time.

Nourish and respect your relationships with your parents, family, teachers and friends. You can’t do this on your own. Growth is important; you can never know too much. Keep learning and improving—and not only in tap. Stay open, curious and humble.

Be kind, especially to yourself, and always choose a positive perspective, even when it’s easier to get caught up in the negative. Although you’re a small puzzle piece in a much larger picture, know that you matter. The picture isn’t complete without you. I love you!

Here’s to so much more...

Claudia

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