Karen Cheng Proved That You Can Learn Almost Anything in a Year

Anyone I’ve known for more than fifteen minutes has probably heard me gripe about how I could easily have been a Broadway star…if only I’d been given real voice or dance lessons as a kid.

I still maintain it’s true, but after watching Karen X. Cheng’s mesmerizing video of how she taught herself to dance in a year, I think I’m going to give it a rest. Between footage of day four, when Cheng is noticeably halting and stiff, and video of her moves on Day 86, when she appears to be good enough for Alvin Ailey, something amazing happened.

The trick, according to Cheng, who is a super tech-y designer in San Francisco, is turning your obsession into action. Cheng details her devotion, and the actions she took, on her blog. Her advice? Practice every single day. Every. Single. Day. I’m inspired!

She explains on her blog: “You don’t have to train hardcore for years to become a dancer. But you must be willing to practice and you better be hungry. This isn’t a story about dancing, though. It’s about having a dream and not knowing how to get there, but starting anyway. Maybe you’re a musician dreaming of writing an original song. Or you’re an entrepreneur dying to start your first venture. You’re an athlete but you just haven’t left the chair yet.”

I’ve heard from skeptics who don’t believe Cheng was a dance novice on Day 1. Bah! Broadway may no longer be in the cards for me, but I’m still feeling galvanized by Cheng. Mark it on your calendars: One year from now I’m going to be a songbird.  Wish me luck!