Personal Peace and Connectivity Through Performance

May 2, 2023 3:00PM

Mexico, 2022 | Source: Living Legends Member Kalawai’a Fano

2204-18 008 2204-18 Living Legends Group April 6, 2022 Photography by Nate Edwards/BYU © BYU PHOTO 2020 All Rights Reserved (801)422-7322

When Hawaii native, Kalawai’a Fano joined BYU Living Legends he expected to dance, perform, and carefully curate gorgeous, visual feasts for audiences. However, throughout his three years in the group, Fano stated that having the opportunity to be a part of Living Legends was “one of the most incredible things [he] ended up doing at BYU.”  

After returning from a mission to his ancestral homeland, Samoa, in 2018 Fano found that Living Legends allowed him to embrace his cultural heritage in a way no other program could. The ensemble helped him grow, discover new talents and abilities, uncover new passions, and find ways to serve others. It was through Living Legends that Fano met his wife. He stated that it was “indescribable” for them to tour Mexico together as he was able to embrace her traditions and culture as his own, despite not having a blood connection.   

One of the most significant perspectives Fano was able to gain during his time in Living Legends dancing, performing, and sharing things about his own culture could bring others closer to their Savior. During his first tour Living Legends traveled to Brazil and in their first area they met a young couple at a soccer museum, which ended with the ensemble inviting them to see their upcoming performance in Sao Paulo. Shortly afterward, Living Legends found out that their show had touched the couple and they had accepted an invitation to be baptized. Two years later on a tour to Mexico, the group had a similar experience as one of their local tour guides ended up becoming impressed and taking lessons from the missionaries. Six months later, Living Legends received heart-warming pictures of him and his family getting baptized. Fano lamented, “I never thought that something like performing would have that kind of impact. But truly, the unique Spirit we carry [as a group] has brought some of the most unforgettable memories to me during my time in Living Legends.”   

For Kalawai’a Fano, Living Legends wasn’t just a performing group—it was the reason he met his wife, the means of conversion of several families, and a way to celebrate and learn about other cultures—it was a family.