Sarah Reich's crystal-clear sounds, expert musicality, and vivacious energy have solidified her as one of this generation's tap greats. A Culver City, CA, native, Reich began tapping at age 5. At 12 years old, she started going to clubs to learn salsa, where she began mixing tap steps with salsa and merengue movement, creating what's become her signature flair. She's toured with Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox, and danced with Chloe Arnold's Syncopated Ladies and Jason Samuels Smith's Anybody Can Get It Tap Company. Reich also started her own company, Tap Music Project, in 2012, which puts on performances and workshops around the country, and recently released her debut tap-jazz album New Change. —Courtney Bowers
You're living your best life right now. You've been studying with the best tap teachers. Cherish this time with your greatest mentor, Harold "Stumpy" Cromer. He won't be around much longer. Remember all the advice he gives you on show business, life, and boys. He always tells you to sing and play the piano. Start now!
Retain the lessons from all your mentors. One day you'll be a mentor and will pass down similar lessons. Continue to pay your dues in all aspects of the dance.
Be thankful for your supportive parents. Their investment in you will be worth it. Remember those jazz CDs Mom gave you? Those CDs are planting the seed for your love of jazz music, which will blossom into the self-discovery that you're a jazz musician yourself.
At age 17, with her mentor Harold "Stumpy" Cromer (courtesy Reich)
Tap is your plan A. There's no plan B. Continue to work hard and be ready for your future to be all that you've dreamed. Don't be afraid of your drive to bring greatness to the art form. You're capable of being a leader. Accept challenges and learn from them.
When you do things from a place of love, they'll resonate. Accept the responsibility of representing tap with class and respect. Believe in yourself. Forget your doubts and have more faith. You should go to temple more and establish a tighter relationship with God. This connection will help you thrive in all areas of your life. Enjoy the journey.
A version of this story appeared in the January 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Letter to My Teenage Self: Sarah Reich."