I remember the first day I met Karen Ng during the summer of 2010 in the halls of Broadway Dance Center in New York as we waited to get our pictures taken for our student cards. Back then we were New York virgins, carrying absolutely nothing with us but our passion for dance and excitement for this new chapter in our lives. I saw the fire and hunger in her eyes even back then, and we connected instantly. Both of us took risks that year, we decided to take leave from our corporate careers to train under some of the most renowned professionals in the dance industry. Karen was a different person back then, while she loved dance, she was often distracted by the city’s many temptations.
After the program finished, Karen returned to her hometown in Napier, New Zealand with a serious case of the lovebug. Her love for dance and New York found it’s way into her veins and pumped through her body as though her very existence depended on it. From that day forth she vowed that she would do whatever she could to return to New York and progress as a dancer, “after having tasted doing what I love for so long and seeing exponential progress I just knew that there was no way I could ever return to my old life again, of work and not much else.”
After working as a pharmacist in Napier for almost a year, Karen saved up enough money to return to New York again in 2012 as a student at Broadway Dance Center. Videos and links to Karen’s performances and choreographed pieces soon invaded my facebook newsfeed- she was everywhere from notable stages at Symphony Space and Cipriani Wall Street, to underground events such as Waacktropolis and Broadway Underground and even local community fundraisers (Blissful Bedroom). She reeked of a woman who would let nothing stand in her way.
Re-inspired by Karen’s achievements, I decided to return to New York that summer to get a taste of it for myself. Not only was I impressed by how much Karen’s resume had grown on paper, but I was also struck by her personal transformation as a dancer. I watched her flawlessly waack in ‘The Wizards of Waacking’, a unique dance style that she mastered under the guidance of Princess Lockeroo. She was clean, precise, focused and outstanding. The dance student that I once knew had turned into a professional artist. I sat with her one hot summer night in Bryant Park and asked her how she did it, she simply replied,” I took advantage of every opportunity to choreograph and perform, I wasn’t going to let anything stop me this time.” I was inspired by how much faith she invested in herself in pursuit of her dreams.
Karen has pushed herself unlike any other person I’ve known, and has come to defeat every ounce of self-doubt along the way, encouraging others to believe in themselves. She is living proof that if you want something bad enough, no matter what it is, you can achieve it.
Want to know what Karen is doing now? Follow her at: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/karenkityingng