Among the student population are young people from across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Walking from one building to the next, it is common to hear several languages filling the hallways and courtyards, rising above the ever-present sound of musicians practicing.
“I love the fact that we’re surrounded by people who share a passion for dance, music, and Chinese culture,” explains one college student. “That shared passion fuels an organizational culture that encourages us to be our very best. It’s not uncommon to see the lights on in many studios late into the night as we strive to refine our art and perfect our skills. I love the dedication it instills, and the camaraderie we foster.”
“I usually start my day with a jog down by the lake,” adds one academy student. “As the mist rises off the water, it’s really an amazing scene and prepares me to tackle the day refreshed and ready to go.”
The academic staff includes faculty and administrators who were trained at some of the finest universities across the country, including Princeton, Stanford, CalTech, and many more. Each and every day, they bring to Dragon Springs a heartfelt dedication to educate and inspire the next generation.
Architect and design experts from China, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea help conceive and design the authentic Buddhist-style temple buildings. Volunteer workers build and maintain these amazing structures. Top-notch architects, engineers, and professionals from Germany, Australia, Canada, the U.S., Taiwan, and many other countries also contribute their expertise to create a host of education and performing arts buildings providing the students and staff with excellent facilities to hone their craft.
Local, regional, and national leaders weigh in on Dragon Springs and Falun Gong
Mayor of Middletown, New York
New York State Assembly, Minority Whip
President and CEO, Orange County
“I have been working with members of the Falun Gong community for many years… They are modern day pilgrims who have poured their heart and soul into their adopted home here in America, adding to the wonderful tapestry of our diversity, and energizing our nation.”
Mayor of Port Jervis, New York
Police Chief, Port Jervis
Former U.S. Ambassador
Former Attorney General, Canada
House of Lords, UK
Former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific)
University of Pennsylvania professor;
one of America’s foremost experts on China
U.S. Representative, New Jersey (R)
Faces of Our Community
A closer look at some of the people that make up the Dragon Springs community
Resilience on Stage
When principal dancer Steven Wang steps on stage to share Chinese culture with audiences around the world, little do they know the sacrifice behind the scenes… for more than a decade, his family has been persecuted for their faith in China. His father died in 2009 after years of abuse in police custody, and his mother was recently sentenced to four years in prison. Officially, the CCP arrested her for distributing home-made leaflets exposing human rights abuses, but the family knows the real goal is to silence them. Yet, Steven soldiers on. “The world’s people should know how beautiful and profound Chinese culture was before the communist regime tried to destroy it, and I’m going to help show it to them. I’m not going to let the CCP silence me.”
A Dedicated Educator
For Emily Myers, Dragon Springs combines her greatest passions: arts, humanitarian work, spirituality, and education. "I love teaching here and working with the kids,” reflects Emily. “They are so well-behaved, but also so creative and deep as individuals. Sometimes when I read their essays, I am humbled. I’m so fortunate to be part of rearing these amazing young artists and international trailblazers!” “And the fact that through their arts they are making the world a better place is just so wonderful."
Proud to Live the American Ideal
Jimmy Cha is a dancer (he won first place in a Korean national competition, in fact) who is lots of fun to watch on stage. Jimmy says that he feels life in the U.S. is not just a privilege… it’s an honor and a duty. “The ‘American experiment’ has served as a guiding light to the world, inspiring democracy across the globe,” observes Jimmy. “We owe it to the people who forged and defended this great nation—as well as to our fellow Americans—to understand the American ideal, embody it, and help others enjoy the liberty it provides.”
A Life of Music
A native of Ukraine, Dr. Yevgeniy Reznik came to the U.S. to study music in Michigan. He is now an assistant professor of music at Fei Tian College. Dr. Reznik trained at the Conservatoire Nationale in Paris, completed a fellowship through Yale School of Music, and received his doctorate from the University of Texas. He has played with the Tokyo String Quartet and at the Y. Mravinsky International Music Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. “Having studied and played music around the world, I can honestly say I have never found a center for music and arts that is as rich and inspiring as Dragon Springs… I have found my musical home.”
When Ms. Yu Liang was a young girl in China, she witnessed a gang of policemen surround her mother in a park and drag her away. Her mother was imprisoned four times for her Falun Gong faith. Over the years, many of her family and friends were also imprisoned, and some tortured. When she secured a scholarship to study in the U.S., she left knowing she may never see her parents again. Happily, after finding an artistic home at Dragon Springs, Yu was joined by her parents in 2018! We are so glad that the family is now safe.
Global-trotting Trumpeter Finds His Home
Eric Robins’ trumpet has taken him around the world, from Mexico to Kazakhstan to South Korea and China. He has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, among others, and is former principal trumpet of the Daegu Symphony Orchestra (Korea). His fellowships include the Mabel Louise Riley Scholarship (New England Conservatory), National Orchestral Institute, Round Top International Music Festival, and Bar Harbor Brass. But it wasn’t until coming to Shen Yun that Eric found his home and a “deep connection, a deep passion.”
A Conductor Bridges East and West
Shen Yun’s orchestra combines the precision and grandeur of the Western orchestra with the mesmerizing expressions of a few select Chinese instruments, most notably the delicate pipa (Chinese lute) and the 4,000-year-old erhu (a two-stringed instrument played with a bow). Ms. Ying Chen makes sure they all come in on cue and blend perfectly. “Creating the beautiful blend of these traditions isn’t just a matter of the individual players, of course," Chen says. “It starts with an exceptional vision and the composition of the pieces. It also relates to the rehearsal process. Having imagination and creativity certainly helps too.”
Emerging from Horrors in China, A Young Dancer Takes Flight
Ellie Rao was four years old when she watched policemen barge into her home in China, and take her father away. She never saw him again. Like countless others, he died in custody, likely from torture. Ellie will never know for sure. What she knew immediately, even at that tender age, was that she needed to speak out, and by doing so, help bring an end to the violent campaign against Falun Gong. “I could stop other kids like me from losing their parents,” Ellie would later write. She has spoken out and much more. As a principal dancer with Shen Yun, Ellie now travels the world showcasing authentic Chinese culture – a culture that the CCP has spent decades trying to eradicate. “I stood up and fought for myself, for Dad, for my family, and for millions of practitioners in China.”