“As a boy, I grew up with the idea that the American Indians were the natural, unspoiled, heroic warriors who loved nature,” says Hans-Wilhelm Kelling, a native of Germany and professor of German at BYU. “There is a fascination with the culture of these people, their dances, their songs, their habits—all of which is so different from ours in Europe.”
Living Legends, who represents Native American, Polynesian, Latin American and cultures through dance and music, will take its show Seasons to Germany and Switzerland this spring. “Germany and Switzerland are countries really well-known for their rich cultural heritage,” says Living Legends artistic director Janielle Christensen. “We’re bringing three cultures who also keep their heritage very alive. Any place we go, people fall in love with all three cultures. The show is designed in a way that people appreciate the background, the culture, and the regalia.”
In addition to rehearsing, the students are preparing for the tour by learning more about the two countries. “[The German and Swiss people] don’t know us yet, but they are already embracing us with love, and I want to go there and embrace them with love too,” says BYU dancer Sophia Guerrero. “It makes me want to love their culture and appreciate them and give justice to the beauty they see in our culture.”
Some of the German venues where Living Legends will perform include Stadthalle Theatre in Neumünster, Meistersingerhalle in Nuremberg, Berlin University of the Arts Concert Hall in Berlin, and Konstablerwache, an iconic downtown square in Frankfurt. They will also perform at Schinzenhof Hall in Horgen, Switzerland.