This week’s Dancer/ Choreographer shout out goes to Lineen Doung. Lineen began dancing in high school taking a high school dance course where he studied the basics of ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop. In high school he grew an interest in hip hop self taught himself how to isolate his body, wave and pop by looking up tutorials on the internet. Freestyling was his first form of dance in the field of hip hop. In 2005 he really began to take interest in hip hop choreography where he auditioned for the McMaster dance company. He was named assistant artistic director in his second year of being in the company and choreographed many award winning routines and placed top 3 at many competitions throughout his university career.
Lineen has come a long way since university, he has worked with many choreographers; Leon Blackwood, Shavar Blackwood, Lenny Dela Pena, Romeo Cassellas, Natalie Nesterenko, Tre Armstrong and many more. He has done work for Rogers, Sony, shops at don mills, and many conventions! Lineen has danced for Kreesha Turner, the General, EOS, Troy, Lights, and most recently Trish; where he performed at the America’s Next Top Model fashion show as a backup dancer. He has choreographed the TB show, Rich Bride Poor Bride and was also highlighted on So You Think You Can Dance Canada where he made finals week! He has also choreographed for a contestant in the Miss Perfect 10 pageant and is a featured dancer in Kreesha Turner’s music video Bounce with Me and in the video Toes by Lights.
Currently, Lineen is part of the Original Gentlemen all male dance crew which has competed all over Toronto and is now going to UK to represent Toronto and Canada at the UK’s hip hop championships! The O.G is taking the industry by storm and performing everywhere, becoming a crowd favorite. Lineen also has a dance events company called DARK (Dance and Rhythm Konnexxions) where he hosts charity events, dance training programs, and much more.
Lineen is also an aspired choreographer and is an emerging artist showing his vision on stage and allowing his imagination become reality by training the dancers more than just how to dance. He is growing everyday and is all about bringing the community together!
Find out what Lineen had to say in this week’s shout out …..
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Lineen: The first time I ever danced was when I was three years old, and my uncle recorded me and my sisters jamming out to a song by Abba. But that was just some jamming out; however I really began dancing in high school, Westview Centennial Secondary School, where I took basics in ballet, jazz, hip hop, African, ballroom and contemporary. I was mainly a freestyle dancer with a group of my fellow class mates. High school is where my dance really began, it saved my life.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Lineen: The first song I ever choreographed to was Rage Against the Machine -Renegades of Funk, as my earliest memory for the first. And I got such positive feedback and it was put on stage at a festival where it won a choreography award.
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Lineen: Free styling is using the vocabulary of dance that you have in your library. It is a concept where you use the dance vocabulary you have in your own personal way and allow the music to move you. It is your own story and that’s exactly what a dancer should do while free styling. It’s not just meaningless movement, the best way to freestyle is to tell a story while you freestyle. I learned this from a Moon Runner named Snapp Jan. I started out as a freestyler but went into hip hop choreography religiously and I am currently trying to get back into it. My personal advice is to practice to any song you would hear while you are walking around, at a store or even if you are in your room. Just think about what they are saying and determine different ways to express the same word. It is your story, it is your zone, you do it the way you feel best fits the music. Free styling is definitely part of mastering your craft and is always good to have the art of improvisation.
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Lineen: For me, choreography is me knowing the music inside and out. From the treble to the base to the added dings and bings. I listen to the music for days on repeat until I am finally ready to start choreographing. Figuring out which note to hit, which musicality to use, which verse to use, how I want to movement to go. It also depends on whether I am choreographing for a workshops/class or if I’m choreographing for a routine to put on stage. Regardless, in both situations I would put the song on repeat and determine what part of the song, what instrumental beat I would like to use. While I choreograph, I repeat the same 8 count in different ways until I move in away where I say to myself “That’s the one” and just keep adding it on. Every dance should be like a roller coaster ride, a concept I learned from Gregory Villarico while having a conversation with him in the car to rehearsal one day. Also, I make sure that when I choreograph, I can envision the dance and see the music; meaning if I were to watch someone do a routine with no music, I should see the song they are dancing to.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Lineen: My biggest influence in the industry is definitely Luther Brown and his DoDat family; Mark Samuels, Kojo “Tuch” Mayne, Ron, Kwame Mensah, and much more. They have influenced me in ways no one else has. I have watched them and learned from them very much by taking their classes, their workshops and studying the way they interpret the music and how they used the music as well. However I do take a lot of influence from Shaun Evaristo from the BayArea, Ian Eastwood, and Lyle Beniga. There are so many role models in the industry and so much influence around me that it’s tough to just state afew. I also take a lot of influence from choreographers and dancers outside of the hip hop scene, Mia Micheals, Linda Garneau, and many more. I take what I can from everyone and try to mold them together to best produce the style that fits me.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Lineen: I have worked with many choreographers, but my best experiences in working with a Toronto Choreographer would be with Leon Blackwood, Shavar Blackwoodand Kwame Mensah. Leon is organized and really knows how to get his stuff done, and done right. He’s a visionary and a perfectionist and only wants the best when putting his work on stage and it has taught me a lot seeing how he works and the way he gets things done. Shavar is amazing at pushing his dancers that allows his dancers to go beyond their tolerated physical capabilities. Shavar pushes them and allows us to create energy on stage when we are dying from exhaustion and this allows us to move stronger and sharper, and hit harder for much longer. Kwame Mensah is one of DoDats original members, and its great working with him mainly because of his knowledge, his wisdom and what he has taught me in a short 3 months. The history, the foundation, the in between; Kwame has allowed me and my fellow dance colleagues to engage in a new dance that is actually from the old school era. His flow, his funk, and his flavor are amazing to watch and feel good when done right.
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why? (Could be another Dancer, choreographer, musician etc. Doesn’t have to be from
Lineen: The most amazing artists that I have worked with would be with Lights and Trish. Lights is an amazing artists and I worked with her on set of her videos Toes, it was absolutely amazing, very chill atmosphere and everything was shot and done in sequence, scheduled and very organized. They treated us very well and it was just pleasant and smooth. Trish was amazing, and very talented! She took care of us and allowed us to be ourselves on and off the stage; she was one of us (The Original Gentlemen) and trusted us to deliver for her on stage.
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Lineen: There are many projects that I am working on at the moment, a couple of dance video projects that have already been implemented and almost finished producing. I also have a charity showcase on July 20th; this will be the second year! Smile 4 The Cause, which is fund raising money for two foundations this year; Blessings in a Backpack and the Sunny Brook Foundation. There is also training program that I am currently having auditions for May 20! This program is going to allow the dancers selected to learn in the genres of hip hop choreography, popping, locking, breakdance, house, jazz funk, and an optional technique class, it is called the Right1. Another event that is currently in discussion is the CrewSpect dance battle, where it is crew vs crew. It is called CrewSpect because we need to respect each other at the end of the battle, no tolerance for disrespecting someone else’s dance form and style. There are also many more concepts and ideas that everyone should be watching out for!
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?
Lineen: Toronto dancers all possess flavor, I have always said this and will always believe it. Toronto has the most soul, flavor and style in the world when it comes to dancing. We are all very unique and also have a sense of diversity in our dancing. A unique trait for a dancer in Toronto is the way we move and is always noticed when a Toronto dancer ventures outside to train elsewhere.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Lineen: My advice to all emerging dancers is to train, work hard and take your time. You know when you are ready and don’t let anyone tell you that you are not ready. If you feel ready that you are ready. Also to learn as much as possible from as many different genres from as many different teachers/choreographers as you possibly can. It’s very important to learn different styles of teaching, choreographing and moving as it makes it easier to learn how to pick up a choreographers way of movement. It also makes it easier to allow yourself to come out and “smash” the routine and “kill it.” For choreographers, I suggest choreographing as much as possible and show friends and allow them to give you constructive criticism, don’t rush into putting your choreography out there wait til you feel it is absolutely at its best, and from there choreography will become easier. Practice makes improvement! So don’t stop. “The day you stop learning, is the day you get left behind,” never stop learning. Learn from your students, from your teachers, from strangers, from EVERYONE!
THANK YOU LINEEN FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE & PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO
CHECK OUT SOME OF LINEEN’S WORK…