This fusion of dance and the environment is an extraordinary journey of eight souls across the majestic breathtaking landscapes of Utah and the Four Corners Area of the Southwest United States – five dancers, two filmmakers, and one photographer reveal their uplifting and challenging experience in this inspiring film by Maida Withers.
Shot on location in the vast wilderness of canyons and fantastically formed buttes of Muley Point, Butler Wash, red rock wilderness of Canyonlands, and Arches, Utah and the primitive desert atmosphere of the Four Corners Area of the Southwest, USA, TUK features dancers who lived on site and spectacular Earth photographs by Bruce Hucko, in a dramatic double and triple screen display edited by French filmmaker Ludovic Jolivet. Brent Michael Davids, Native American composer from the Mohican Nation creates haunting original music with his Blue Butterfly Group (Dasha Hlavenka, Joe Myers, Melissa Angel) and Will Goins Moreau.
Dancers in a ritual of passage and transformation, capture the Native American spirit and ancestral voice that resides in this awe inspiring place. TUK redefines this spirit for modern times to renew and celebrate our consciousness and connection to the Earth and planet.
Tukuhnikivatz is the name of a powerful peak in the La Sal Mountain Range near Moab, Utah. Local myth claims that in the end of days, native peoples will rise and meet at Tukuhnikivatz. Utah is the birthplace of Director Maida Withers. Her ancestors for six generations were instrumental in settling areas of Southern Utah and Northern Arizona.
The film originates from footage projected as part of an exotic stage installation for the evening-length multimedia production Utah * Spirit Place * Spirit Planet * Tukuhnikivatz commissioned by Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors GREAT DANCE in the BANDSHELL, New York City. TUK exists in three film versions: TUK I, TUK II (2008), TUK (Tukuhnikivatz) (2011).
The Best Dance Film Award from the 12th Annual Southeastern Native American Indian Film and Video Festival, November 5 – 9, 2009 – Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois and United Tribes of South Carolina
John Muir Gold Award in recognition of Excellence in Film Making, 2009 Yosemite International Film Festival (Environment Film Competition), Yosemite National Park, California
Wollumbin Film Festival, Wollumbin, Australia (2008)
Get Reel in Moab Film Festival, Moab, Utah (2008)
DC Independent Film Festival, Washington, DC (2008)
Produced by Maida Withers and the Dance Construction Company with Where Where IS Productions!
What the press is saying
"The most intriguing is a pair of video portraits Withers’ tech team created of dancer Tzveta Kassabova. The wily Withers talked her way into using one of the city’s most upscale video studios, and was able to shoot Kassabova’s movement on a green screen. Later, animators applied a range of images that aim to illustrate the essence of Kassabova’s dancing and, ultimately, her character." Amanda Abrams, Washington City Paper
"... a work drawn from the ancient art of American Indians and the rugged wilderness of Utah..." Jennifer Dunning- The New York Times
Artists and Collaborators
- Earth Photographs
- Danzlens, Habitat Center, New Delhi, India(map) on February 22, 2012
- AWARD: Southeastern Native Amerian Indian Film and Video Festival(map) on November 7, 2009
- Yosemite Film Festival, John Muir Award_Excellence in Filmmaking(map) on January 1, 2009
- TUK I: Park City Film Music Festival, Park City, Utah(map) on May 29, 2012
- Amazing Earth Festival, Kanab Utah (map) on May 21, 2011
- 7th Annual Carnival of e-Creativity (CeC 2012) Sattal Estage, Bhimtal, Himalayan Indian State of Uttarakhand(map) on February 26, 2012