SAN JOSE, Calif.—Elijah Meeks, a digital humanities specialist at Stanford University, and Haijra Meeks, an international history lecturer at the University of California and artist, attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts.
Mrs. Meeks said that it was a “breath-taking performance and very moving.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun was established by a group of artists in 2006 with the mission of reviving the ancient Chinese divine culture. At the core of the performance is classical Chinese dance and music.
Mrs. Meeks was touched by the Eastern culture. “All the grace and all the beautiful colors and all the movements—it’s glorious and magnificent. I think it’s beautiful,” she said.
Mr. Meeks has a PhD in Chinese history and works as the digital humanities specialist at Stanford University. The Digital Humanities Specialist position was specially created to give Stanford faculty access to project design, visualization, and software development oriented toward the creation of digital scholarly media, according to the Stanford University Libraries and Academic information resources. Mr. Meeks also co-created the ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World, a network that reconstructs the time cost and financial expense associated with a wide range of different types of travel in antiquity.
According to Shen Yun’s website, “In a collection of short pieces, audiences travel from the Himalayas to tropical lake-filled regions; from the legends of the culture’s creation over 5,000 years ago through to the story of Falun Dafa in China today.”
“It’s beautiful,” he said. Mr. Meeks was particularly touched by the pieces depicting life in modern day China and the Chinese communist party’s treatment of Falun Dafa.
Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, is guided by the principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance.” It has helped over a hundred million Chinese people understand and return to the essence of traditional Chinese culture—Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist schools of thought, according to Shen Yun’s website.
For over a decade, “the Chinese Communist Party, whose regime and ideology are in stark contrast with the traditional culture of China, has targeted Falun Gong for persecution,” it states.
“It’s very touching to see the expression in this way. It’s typical in this kind of classical dance to only express classical stories and to show modern stories—it’s very good,” he said. “Obviously, it’s beautifully done,” Mr. Meeks said.
Mrs. Meeks has extensive scholarly background from the University of San Francisco and the London School of Economics and Political Science. An artist, Mrs. Meeks also produces artwork in watercolor, ink, acrylic, pastel, and oil pastel, and has expertise in Islamic history, Arabic, Islamic art, and calligraphy. Her parents are from Pakistan.
Shen Yun’s colors moved Mrs. Meeks. She said it was a “festival of color.”
“Watching the gracefulness—it’s very touching. I was very emotional watching it,” Mrs. Meeks said. “It’s a great thing to bring to the West. It’s wonderful,” she said.
Mr. and Mrs. Meeks said they recommend Shen Yun to all their friends. “We should have more of it,” Mrs. Meeks said of ancient Chinese culture. “There’s not a lot of people exposed to this—the more the better,” she said.
Reporting by Lily Yu and Kelly Ni
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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