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BYU's Living Legends celebrates 40 years with concerts Feb. 18-19

Brigham Young University’s Polynesian, Latin and Native American performance ensemble Living Legends will be performing its “Seasons” concert Friday and Saturday, Feb. 18–19, at 7:30 p.m. in the de Jong Concert Hall.

Tickets are on sale for $6 to $10 online at byuarts.com/tickets or by phone at (801) 422-4322. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the ethnic dance group, which has performed in more than 45 countries since 1971 and recently returned from its February tour in the Pacific Northwest.

Living Legends combines a dynamic repertoire of Native American choreography with the color and vitality of Polynesian and Latin American dance styles. Performed by talented descendants of the cultures portrayed, Living Legends weaves together traditional and contemporary music and is a  tribute to the ancient cultures of the Americas and the Pacific.

The “Seasons” program will include a kaleidoscope of culture, with dances and songs from North America, Mexico, Ecuador, Hawaii, Guatemala, Samoa, Paraguay, Tahiti, Argentina, Bolivia, Fiji, New Zealand and Tonga. The concert reflects the changing seasons experienced by ancient cultures, merging legends of the past with the reality of today, according to artistic director Janielle Christensen.

“It is a moving experience to work with these performers because I see the sincere respect they each hold for one another’s ancestry as well as their own,” Christensen said.

Of the “Seasons” performance, the Danish newspaper Nordjyske Stiftstidende wrote that it has been “a display in a furious tempo which all but took the breath of spectators…. They covered the stage in elegant costumes…and naturally reaped applause.”

Featured on national TV in China, Eastern Europe and Latin America, the ethnic dancing troupe represented the United States at the 1992 World’s Fair in Seville, Spain and at the 1991 German-American Volksfest in Berlin. Living Legends also participated in the Opening Ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

The group consists of 38 members, including cast members and a skilled technical crew. All performers are of Polynesian, Latin or Native American heritage and are selected after a rigorous audition process. The Living Legends program originates from BYU’s School of Music.

To learn more about Living Legends and its “Seasons” tour, contact Janielle Christensen at (801) 422-2570 or janielle_christensen@byu.edu, or visit pam.byu.edu/similarpage.asp?title=Living%20Legends.

Writer: Philip Volmar

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