Claudia Rahardjanoto will be tap dancing her way from the Big Apple to Motown for this year’s Dancing with the Detroit Stars event – virtually, that is!
Rahardjanoto, who’s based in New York City, is performing with pianist Michael Jellick, who’s a mainstay in the Detroit Jazz scene.
Jellick has participated in Lighthouse events in the past, including this year’s virtual Rent Party. He introduced Rahardjanoto to the organization a couple years ago when the two were attending the Detroit Jazz Festival.
“The work that they do in Southeast Michigan is incredible and essential, especially during these times,” said Rahardjanoto. “To not only provide immediate assistance to and help those experiencing homelessness and poverty, but to also provide assistance for long term solutions is something I admire and love about this organization.”
Rahardjanoto was born and raised in Berlin, Germany. She moved to the United States to pursue her passion for tap and it’s paid off.
“I get to perform and teach this truly American art form and pinch myself every day that I am able to do it,” she said.
This year, COVID-19 made it impossible for Rahardjanoto to see her family in Berlin. She knows countless others are being impacted by the pandemic and applauds Lighthouse’s determination to hold the dance competition virtually.
However, she admits the pandemic brings some performance challenges. The biggest obstacle is perfecting the routine she and Jellick are putting together. The two have been recording themselves separately and editing pieces together.
Rahardjanoto said they’re willing to do whatever it takes to help illuminate Lighthouse’s mission.
“I think it’s always important to support those in need, but what times like these bring to light and amplify is that anything can happen to anybody at any time and that nobody is immune to finding themselves in a situation where they might need help,” said Rahardjanoto. “I am so grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to and support Lighthouse remotely in this way.”
Rahardjanoto and Jellick will perform Nov. 21 in the 12th annual Dancing with the Stars. Proceeds from the event help fight homelessness and poverty in Oakland County. Learn more at detroitdancing.org.