From performing in festivals, to interacting with and serving local communities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to celebrating their heritage through dance and song, BYU Living Legends truly had an unforgettable tour to Mexico this summer.
One of the group’s first performances took place in La Guelaguetza, one of the most renowned theaters in Mexico. With an audience of over 1,000 people, they brought down the house with their show Storytellers, a celebration of the cultural heritage of North America, South America, and the Pacific Islands. Dancer Kalawai‘a Fano said that performing the haka, a traditional Māori dance, that night was particularly special because “even though it was something completely foreign to [the audience], they still clearly felt the Spirit being portrayed in the dance. It gave us a real sense that though our cultures were very different, something beneath the surface was connecting all of us.” The governor of the state of Oaxaca himself was in attendance and remarked that the next time Living Legends was in town, he would make sure to fill 12,000 seats for the group.
Following a brief visit to Mexico City, where the group hosted a young adult activity and visited the Church’s Mexico City Mexico Temple, Living Legends arrived in Puebla on May 5 for the Día de la Batalla de Puebla celebration. The group teamed up with Danza Folklórica MAASO to perform dances from a variety of cultures for enthusiastic audiences. Living Legends closed its week with two more performances, one at the Auditorio Metropolitano in Puebla for an audience of nearly 1,000 people and the other in Mérida at a meetinghouse for local members of the Church. On their last day in Mérida, the group visited the Mayan ruin complex at Chichén Itzá.
The tour came to an end the following Saturday as the group participated in their last cultural exchange. They met with the young adults from a congregation of the Church in Cancún, where the BYU group taught them dances and songs. One Living Legends performer summed up the tour by stating, “Being able to meet and interact with the people brought me the greatest satisfaction. We got to share our experiences as dancers at BYU, and [in return] they were so loving and caring to each of us.”