Editor’s note: The original version of this story inaccurately said the show was the first new one in 51 years, not 20. This version has been corrected.
BYU international dance group Living Legends will be performing their first newly composed show in more than 20 years titled “Storytellers.”
Living Legends is a touring and performance team in the dance department and their performance of song and dance celebrates various international cultures.
For the last two decades, Living Legends has consistently performed variations of a show called “Seasons.” Artistic Director Jamie Kalama Wood built upon the success of that show to create “Storytellers” for the 51st anniversary of Living Legends.
“The idea of the show follows the perspective of a young child who is growing up through life,” Wood said. “In the questions and trials that the young man endures, his ancestors communicate and help him through stories of dance and songs.”
The concept of the show originally stemmed from Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life in “The Book of Mormon,” she said. Wood chose to focus on the pathway described in the vision and related it to the growth of a child.
“The storyline of the show really follows the Tree of Life and understanding where we come from and who we are as sons and daughters of God,” Living Legends Latin section leader Candace Contreras said. “Through the dances, the audience can really see the connection between us performers and the people who come before us.”
Those involved in Living Legends hope through the new performance, the audience will come to feel the love of God as well as a sense of community.
“Our hope is that the spirit of God can touch the audience and that they can feel the love we have for our cultures as well as the love our ancestors have for us,” Polynesian dancer Karly Nikora said.
The dance group consists of three sections that represent Polynesian, Latin American and Native American heritage.
“Living Legends gives us the opportunity to stay connected to our culture. It has helped me feel like I have a gained voice for those of my Native American heritage,” Native American section leader Cheyanne Elton said.
Along with cultural inclusion and representation, Living Legends finds importance in incorporating faith-based beliefs into their performances.
“In Living Legends, we not only get the opportunity to share our culture through song and dance but also the gospel. I personally think all cultures connect to the gospel in some way, and that is why I love this new show,” Contreras said.
With the new show in the works, the dance group has grand plans to spread its positive message throughout the world. This semester, Living Legends has projected performance tours in the United States and Mexico.
The debut of “Storytellers” was last weekend, and the group is eager to continue performing it for those across the nation, said Keanu Furtado, a second-year dancer in Living Legends.
They are scheduled to perform their new show on the BYU campus for the first time on March 18 and 19. Wood invites all to attend “Storytellers” in hopes they will experience finding a story of their own.
“We use dance to share who we are and our stories. We hope the show will open the hearts of the audience to find their own stories,” Wood said.