I’m Elena Lin.
Martial arts practitioner.
I found my unique expression in dance
My renowned blend of Chinese martial arts with contemporary dance means I’ve choreographed and performed breakthrough pieces and delivered innovative educational programs as a visiting and resident choreographer, workshop leader, and private coach for decades.
Documentary short film about Elena Lin (Antwerp, 2022), by filmmaker Hélène Mulder. In-depth interview featured by Creators Chambers.
From exploration to my unique expression in dance
From a young age, I developed my talent in the performing arts, starting with a major role in a children’s TV series at age 9. I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and pursued my dance education across Europe.
After I specialized in Chinese martial arts under Sri Lankan Kung Fu master Ravi Chandrasiri, I developed a way to integrate martial arts into contemporary dance. I also chose my dancer name inspired by the Chinese philosophy I immersed myself in—’Lin’, which means ‘forest’.
As I kept exploring movement in all its forms, I further integrated elements of physical theatre, contact improvisation, acrobatics, Butoh dance, the traditional Indian Kathak dance, African dance, manipulation of sticks, classical ballet, and a number of other techniques into a rigorous daily practice that allowed me to grow as a dancer.
That innovative fusion of techniques in contemporary dance led me to work with leading dance institutions, including the Royal Academy of Ballet (Antwerp), the TicTac Art Center with David Zambrano (Brussels), Tanzhouse (Dusseldorf), Micadanses Dance studio (Paris), Marameo contemporary dance training studio (Berlin), Contemporary dance school (Zimbabwe), Danscentrumsud (Malmö), Danshallerne (Copenhagen), CDSH – Contemporary Dance School (Hamburg), Tanzquartier (Vienna), and many others.
Beyond my work with these institutions, I lead workshops and individual sessions with dancers and professional performers, tailored to their needs and skills.
The process of creation in my choreographies
While I’ve choreographed many performances, three of those tell my story better than any words can.
“GATE OF THE TREES“, my choreography produced by filmmaker Roeland Van Onckelen, goes back to nature and tells the story of five different characters: Animal, Shaman, Geisha, Wind, and Child. The choreography evokes how both humans and trees are connected through the air and the soil. Presentation at film festivals was unfortunately delayed by Covid-19; instead, we made the dance movie available online.
“HOUSE OF 5 ELEMENTS“ was a very different choreography involving 5 performers in a public space. Combining the energies of different dancers and the setting into one performance was a rewarding challenge. It brings the story of the five elements in nature from Chinese philosophy, represented by the five performers with their different stories interweaving.
“OBSESSION OF CREATION“ is the epitome of my creative process, bringing martial arts into contemporary dance. It shows how powerful breathing techniques can create a rhythm in the body and convey different types of energy to an audience.
If you want to work with me as a dancer and choreographer, or if you are interested in exploring the individual program for professional performers, please contact me.
“One of the remarkable things when working with Elena is discovering the play between different energies. How I could be more anchored and moving on the floor, or be lighter, moving through the air. Through the improvisations she used, I widened my range of movements and grew my ability to channel my energy.”
– Olivia Bouis, professional contemporary dancer