BYU 'Living Legends' to perform at Diné College

A member of BYU’s Living Legends performs a traditional dance from Hawaii. It depicts elements of creation, such as mountains, volcanoes and the ocean (Courtesy photo).

A member of BYU’s Living Legends performs a traditional dance from Hawaii. It depicts elements of creation, such as mountains, volcanoes and the ocean (Courtesy photo).

TSAILE-Brigham Young University's (BYU's) highly acclaimed "Living Legends" showcases the excitement, mystery and exhilaration of ancient cultures during their 90 minute show of Polynesian, Latin American and Native American music and dance called "Seasons." Living Legends will perform at the Diné College, Tsaile Campus gymnasium Saturday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m.

Authentic choreography, intricate costumes and heart-pounding music bring to life the beauty of traditional cultures often forgotten in today's modern world. From the graceful Hawaiian Hula and Mexican Fiesta dances of celebration to the excitement and beauty of a Native American Pow Wow, this year's Living Legends performance will reflect the cycle of civilization. The dances portray the changing seasons experienced by ancient cultures, weaving together legends of the past with the reality of today.

Living Legends returned in May from a three-week tour of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and three Canadian provinces. The tour was Living Legends' first trip to the region since 2001. They performed in 14 cities, including Rapid City, S.D., Bismarck, N.D., Sioux City, Iowa, and Calgary, Alberta.

Throughout the tour, Living Legends visited several American Indian reservations, including the Cheyenne River and Rosebud Reservations in South Dakota. There, group members had the opportunity to not only perform but also learn dances native to the areas they visited.

Living Legends has been receiving increased international visibility over recent years. Since 2000, the group has performed in South America, Canada, Europe, and South Africa, in addition to numerous performances across the United States. The group recently returned from a highly successful tour of Germany in 2006. During the 2002 Winter Olympic Games held in Salt Lake City, Utah, Living Legends had the honor of performing for Olympic visitors and athletes in the Olympic Village. Members of Living Legends also had the privilege of participating in Light of the World, a production featuring several BYU performing groups.

Each year hundreds of BYU students representing the cultures of North and South America and the South Pacific audition for the opportunity to pay tribute to their ancestors. All Living Legends members are of Native American, Latin American, or Polynesian heritage.

Living Legends strives to encourage all people to take pride in their individual heritage. Its joyful expression of cultural tradition encourages audiences to better themselves as illustrated by a statement from the Office of Culture in Guatemala, "Your performance was wonderful. Your presence here teaches our people something-to have high ideals and to walk proud as a people. We hope this community will not be the same after tonight."

Living Legends is directed by Janielle Christensen and originates in the School of Music, College of Fine Arts and Communications, at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. BYU is one of the nation's largest private universities with an enrollment of 30,000 students from throughout the United Sates and 120 foreign countries.

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