A legendary performance; Renowned BYU group will share celebration of song and dance

A legendary performance; Renowned BYU group will share celebration of song and dance Vanesa Michalek-Losik exudes energy in the vibrant and colorful Mexican fiesta dance, La Negra. All Living Legends' dances are authentic to the cultures they represent. by David Lias It's hard for Karen Thompson to contain her enthusiasm these days.

The Vermillion woman is serving as the local public relations person for Brigham Young University's Living Legends.

And she's got good news for the Vermillion community. The group will be performing here.

"They're coming to Vermillion � not Sioux Falls or Sioux City � but Vermillion," she said. Living Legends will perform at Slagle Hall Auditorium on The University of South Dakota campus in Vermillion on Tuesday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. The group, formerly known as the Lamanite Generation, captures the essence of ancient and modern culture in a 90-minute celebration of Latin American, Native American and Polynesian song and dance.

"I've seen them before, and the kids are from those cultures, and everything is so authentic," Thompson said. "The costumes are authentic, everything is just as professional and perfect as you would want it to be. They will just knock your socks off."

The group's performance will do more than just entertain local citizens. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Ronald McDonald House and Vermillion Child Protection Team.

Tickets are available at the Coyote Student Center beginning Monday, March 26. Prices are $25 for a family, $8 for individuals, $6 for students and $10 at the door.

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, to Mexican fiesta dances of celebration, to the excitement and beauty of a Native American powwow, this year's Living Legends performance will reflect the cycle of civilization.

The dances will portray the changing seasons

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experienced by ancient cultures, weaving together legends of the past with the reality of today.

The cultural performances of Living Legends have been applauded worldwide in Europe, China, the Pacific islands, Australia, Canada and South America. In February 2001, the group performed for audiences in Nevada and California.

They will tour extensively through South and North Dakota and Canada during May 2001.

While on their extended tour, the Living Legends will perform in 16 cities throughout the two states and Canada. Their first stop will be in Mission. From there they will travel east to Vermillion, then north to Sioux Falls, Aberdeen and Sisseton.

They will then cross the border to Fort Totten, ND. From May 9 to May 25, the ensemble will visit cities in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

The Living Legends embarked on their long-awaited tour of South America in Spring 2000. With performances in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina, group members shared the colorful traditions of their cultural heritage with the Latin people. Thirteen of their shows were sold out during the tour, which also included multiple television appearances and interviews.

"This tour to South America was the best of the three I have been on with them," said cultural advisor Enoc Flores. "In every city ? we saw that the people came alive and were uplifted. The local leaders would tell us that we injected in them a desire to be better and to do more."

All people are encouraged to take pride in their individual heritage by the Living Legends. Their 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."

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 is directed by Janielle Christensen and originates in the School of Music at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT.

BYU is one of the nation's largest private universities with an enrollment of more than 30,000 students from throughout the United States and 107 foreign countries.

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