“I really appreciate Macaulay for giving me this opportunity and financial support to study a different language and expand my understanding of different cultures.”

Jiemin Yang had no formal training as a dancer before coming to Macaulay, but he has since totally immersed himself in the craft. Now majoring in Dance and Graphic Design at Queens College, Jiemin has created an original dance work Even Out that he presented before the American College Dance Association earlier this year; and presented another original dance piece, B-R-E-A-K, at Queens College. Jiemin says it was Macaulay’s Arts Seminar that “changed my life.”

“Through that class, I explored different museums and theatres in NYC. I became fascinated with dance and started going to more dance shows after seeing performances in a class trip to the Fall for Dance festival at New York City Center.”

Jiemin spent most of his childhood in Fuzhou, China. When he was young, his parents emigrated to New York City. He joined them in 2009 and enrolled at John Bowne H.S. in Queens.

“My focus was on academics and improving my English. I had some interests in visual and performing arts in high school, but I did not have a chance to really study them. I participated in some arts-related activities in order to fulfill my interests.”

Jiemin, who also speaks Mandarin and French, used his Opportunities Fund to study at the University of Paris for a semester. He also received a scholarship to spend six weeks in dance training in North Carolina at the American Dance Festival that he also helped run. Jiemin has worked as a graphic design intern at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Asia Society and volunteers as a translator at the Queens Botanical Garden and Joyce Theater. He is grateful for the support and attention he has received at Macaulay.

“My advisors have helped me tremendously during my study at Queens College. They gave me a lot of advice on my personal, educational, and professional development.

Jiemin is the first generation in his family to get a college degree, but he is not through with his education. He is an alternate recipient for the Fulbright-Trinity Laban Award in Music and Dance and wants to pursue a Master’s degree in Dance Performance. He has received scholarships to participate in professional dance training at Jacob’s Pillow Dance and Bates Dance Festival this summer.

“I want to continue to grow as a dancer, choreographer, and visual artist. I will audition for dance troupes and continue to develop my design/artwork. After working for a few years and when the time is ready, I want to start my own dance troupe and share my creation with the rest of the world.”

Photo of Jiemin Yang