Dance-Lapse: Woman Uses Her Camera to Capture a Year of Learning to Dance

How good can you get at something in 365 days? If you’re former Microsoft exec Karen Cheng, pretty darn good. Her goal was to learn to dance in one year, and she spent that year documenting the experience and showing her progress right up to her final impressive performance in a San Francisco subway station.

The video is the centerpiece around which Cheng built the motivational website Dance in a Year. More than just a video that shows the progression of her skill over time — that in itself would have been pretty cool — the pseudo time-lapse is supposed to inspire others to master their craft (be it dancing, playing an instrument or, you guessed it, photography) as well.


365 days might seem like a long time, but you’ll notice that in the video, a lot of progress is already made in the first 30 days. By day 86, the dance is starting to look more professional. And by Day 136, she was so proficient that she didn’t feel the need to include any more progress clips, she jumps straight to the subway station.

The principles that she encourages the site’s visitors to adopt — practice every day, set goals you can control, become your own coach, learn from YouTube and go to dance class — can just as easily be applied to photography.


There’s a reason 365 projects are so popular (in particular the challenging ones). Getting out there and practicing every day inevitably leads to improvement. If you can squeeze some tutorials and a professional photography class in there as well, all the better.

Check out the video at the top for some dance-related inspiration, and head over to Cheng’s new website to learn more about her methods and get your dose of motivation for the day.

Thanks for sending in the tip, Orion!

  • Pepe

    She’s my friend’s roommate!

  • David Liang

    Oh I like like, it’s great she shared this to try and motivate others.

  • Gman

    yummy. *presses replay*

  • hah

    my conclusion is that it takes more than a year to learn how to dance.

  • trretre

    sorry but at the end she dances like some zombie on xanax.
    not impressed……

  • grtttr


  • Mark Dub

    I think she was dancing better on day 136 then 365 :)

  • The Crapparazzi

    that’s two minutes of my life i’m never getting back.

  • tyrohne

    so learning to dance is a bell curve? Well I’m calling Arthur Murray and cancelling those lessons….

  • MS

    So that’s how “Microsoft” people dance? This would be a great Apple commercial!

  • Carrick

    Very cool.

  • Marco Mignano

    This is Kung Fu-esque!!

  • david

    that’s dancing??? she looks like a zombie having a seizure yum yum dung style..find a dance studio.

  • Guest

    Learned how to dance in a year or learned a routine in a year?

    Just saying….

  • Truthonaplate

    agreed 100%

  • Jordan Butters

    Petapixel readers…expert on photography AND dance.