Theater Professor, Sports Anchor Enjoy China’s Rich History Through Shen Yun


Eric Hagen, the former chair of theater department at the University of South Dakota, and Tom Hanneman, sports anchor at Fox Sports North, liked the mini-drama pieces performed by Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Feb. 17.

“Visually so wonderful, the music, the live music is just tremendous,” Hanneman said. “Not only the beauty and the elegance, but the story lines are tremendous.”

“I think storytelling though movement is very effective and must be an ancient tradition in China,” Hagen said. “The patented invention of bringing objects from the backdrop down to the stage, I think was very inventive and effective.”

The stories told by Shen Yun include tales from classical Chinese literature and vignettes from contemporary China.

Hagen, a board director at The Black Hills Playhouse, one of the oldest continuously operating nonprofit summer stock theaters in America, was impressed by the skill of the Shen Yun dancers.

“The skill that they have is something that has been learned over decades …  I don’t see that happening with a typical theater company in America,” he said. “So I think it’s very difficult for a typical American theater company to do anything like this.”

Hanneman, a five-time regional Emmy award winner, said it was wonderful to see China’s ancient heritage.

“I think there’s a general misunderstanding in this country about the heritage and the traditions of China because you don’t think of spiritual. And yet it was there and unfortunately so much of it was taken away. So it’s wonderful to go back and see the rich history inclusive of a religious past,” Hanneman said.

“The values of love and compassion and brotherhood and loyalty and justice. Those are all universal values that anyone can appreciate” Hagen said. “I’m glad I got a chance to see the show and to learn more about the Chinese culture and this aspect of Chinese culture.”

NTD News, Saint Paul, Minnesota