Lina CHOI, Fellow I.D.T.A. (C.W.) (Highly Commended) (U.K.) Founder, Choreographer, Head Instructor, Chairman of the Hong Kong Line Dancing Association. Lina's success as a line dancing instructor and choreographer is a far cry from her early days growing up in Fujian, China. Born into a very traditional Chinese family, Lina's exposure to dancing was limited only to school production, and her dream of training to become a career dancer after graduating from high school never materialized because of her move to Hong Kong with her family in 1962. Lina got married shortly afterwards and became so preoccupied with her husband's family business that she had no time to think about dancing. Nevertheless, her love for it had always remained in her heart, and in 1992 when she and her husband and two sons immigrated to Auckland, New Zealand her childhood dream became reality. During her six years there she studied English for the first time, and jumped at the chance to enroll in ballroom and line dancing classes, both of which she excelled at. Returning to Hong Kong in early 1998, Lina began teaching and promoting traditional line dancing to the local community.
Through consistent hard work and dedication, this hobby soon became a full time professional commitment. Over the years, Lina's professionalism in this field has commanded considerable respect and recognition both locally and abroad. She has been interviewed regularly by the local press, with articles published about her contribution to Line Dancing in the ¡§South China Morning Post¡¨, ¡§Sing Tao Supplement¡¨, ¡§Sing Tao¡¨, ¡§TVB Magazine¡¨, ¡§Parents Magazine¡¨, ¡§Hong Kong Economic Times¡¨, "Next Magazine", plus several other Chinese publications. She was also interviewed by ¡§The China Press¡¨ in Ipoh, Malaysia in June 2004 at an instructors¡¦ workshop. Several articles on Lina's involvement with The Hong Kong Line Dancing Association have also appeared in the UK Line Dancer Magazine / International Supplement in 2005 and 2006.
Since the inception of the Hong Kong Line Dancing Association in 1998, Lina has been an active participant in numerous promotional and fund raising events. Lina's first major and most memorable occasion was a promotional event for local sports and family fitness activities, organized by the Hong Kong Sports Development Board in October / November 1998. At a time when line dancing was still in its infancy in Hong Kong, Lina and a group of her students were invited to demonstrate and teach a few dances to the general public. The event was a huge success in raising the awareness and popularity of line dancing among the local community.
The scope of Lina's promotional activities has been wide and varied. Apart from public performances organized by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and various District Affairs associations, many in Hong Kong have witnessed her talent elsewhere. She has introduced the art of traditional line dancing to several private clubs, such as the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the Macau Jockey Club, the Chinese Recreation Club, and the Craigengower Cricket club. Other organizations include tertiary institutions such as the University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Shatin); various Primary and Secondary Schools; Junior Chamber of Commerce; St. John's Ambulance, YMCA, YWCA; South China Athletic Association; Hong Kong Physical Fitness Association; Women and Sport Commission (Hong Kong China Olympic Sports Committee); Hong Kong Girl Guides Association; various Women's Business Associations; Churches, Senior Citizens homes, and community centres. As an avid supporter of charitable organizations, Lina and her students have performed in fund raising events organized by the Community Chest, Tsunami Victims Relief Fund and Lifeline Express Foundation.
Lina's professional credits also include radio interviews and appearances on the local television scene (TVB and Cable TV). In 2002, a 10-part series on Line Dances instructed by Lina was filmed and aired on TVB.
Lina is also no stranger to Line Dancing at the international level. In November 2001, she was a workshop instructor at the Hawaii Line Dance Camp. In May 2002, she was both a judge and guest performer at the Malaysian Line Dancing Championship. Lina was invited back again in September 2003 as a co-judge, in which she was given the priviledge to work with Jo Thompson, a highly acclaimed U.S. Line Dancing Instructor and Choreographer.
At the 1st Asian Pacific Dance Championship organized by the United Country Western Dance Council (UCWDC) in Singapore in August 2003, Lina and her entourage of students were placed in all their events, receiving awards in both Dance and Choreography categories. In June 2004, at the invitation of the Ipoh Line Dancing Instructors Association, Lina participated as one of the workshop instructors. In August 2004 at the 2nd UCWDC Asian Pacific Dance Championship held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Lina's Dance and Choreography entries again took home awards, with the most notable being "Holdin' A Good Hand" which won the overall champion in "Choreography Country" Intermediate Section.
With international credits under her belt, Lina and two of her prize-winning students ventured to the Palm Springs Line Dancing Festival in California in February 2005 and brought home invaluable American experience. To broaden her students' repertoire of dances from different choreographers, Lina arranged a series of workshops conducted by various instructors from overseas in the latter half of 2005. Amongst them was John Robinson, an internationally renowned line dancing personality from Kentucky, U.S.A. Invited by The Hong Kong Line Dancing Association to teach six sessions of workshop from November 30th to December 2nd, John Robinson also performed as a special guest at the Association's Annual Christmas Party on December 3rd. Other notable instructors / choreographers, including Doug and Jackie Miranda from California and Benjamin Smart, the teenage line dancing prodigy from Perth, Australia, have also been invited to give workshops on different occasions.
In early November 2005, Lina led nine of her students to the "Wild Wild West", a fun yet challenging charity performance held in the Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt, Hong Kong. The function was at the invitation of the Society of Publishers in Asia to raise funds for disabled children. Then in mid-November, Lina was nominated for the Humanitarian Award at the First Annual Dancer's Choice Awards held in Las Vegas. It was a great honour for Lina as well as the Association as she was the only nominee from Asia on the ballot.
Lina's passion and timeless effort in making line dancing a top priority in her life led to a very fruitful year in 2006. She and her students accepted invitations from The Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Shatin), Women and Sport Commission (Hong Kong China Olympic Sports Committee), Yau Tsim District Police Headquarters (Christmas and New Year's Party) and St. Mary's Church Christmas Entertainment for Senior Citizens to perform and promote line dancing as a fun and healthy hobby. In the studio, several internationally acclaimed line dancing instructors / choreographers visited and conducted many sessions of workshops for Lina's students. The list included Barry Durand (Washington D.C., U.S.A.), Michele Perron (British Columbia, Canada), Doug & Jackie Miranda (California, U.S.A.) and Vincent & Felicia Chia (Singapore). To further inspire and "globalize" her students outlook and repetoire in line dancing, Lina led teams to attend the 10th Crystal Boot Awards / workshop in February (3 - 5); Dance Funtasia in Taipei, Taiwan in June (16 - 18); and the 2nd Vegas Dance Explosion and Dancer's Choice Awards in Las Vegas, U.S.A. in November (15 - 19). The latter event bears an important significance in Lina's career as she was invited to participate as one of their workshop instructors. (Offered her great opportunity to mingle with some of the top line dancing personalities). She taught four of her own dances, "The Last Waltz", "Blaze Of Glory", "Holdin' A Good Hand" and "Coconut Tree", with the first one being well received. Lina was also a nominee for the "Regional Instructor of the Year" Award at the 2nd Annual Dancer's Choice Awards which was held at the Vegas Dance Explosion Gala Award Night.
Lina's regular commitment to overseas workshops saw her being invited back as instructor to DanceFuntasia 2007 in Penang, Malaysia and the 3rd Annual Vegas Dance Explosion in Las Vegas. At the 1st Asian Line Dance Cruise (April 30 - May 7, 2008), Lina participated as guest workshop instructor and team leader to a group of over 30 students from Hong Kong.
This "bearer" of line dancing and her enthusiastic following celebrated their 10th Anniversary with a series of workshops from January 16 - 20, 2008, conducted by the internationally renowned instructor / technique coach Roy Verdonk of Netherlands. On January 21, a celebration party held at The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre was attended by 360 guests from almost every continent. For a more detailed report of the 10th Anniversary Celebration, please click here.
Now a veteran of ten years teaching experience, Lina has recently been approached by Professor George Kim, Dept. of Physical Education, Yonsei University in Korea to be a guest instructor of line dancing in their teacher-training program.