Utah Project (Trailer 2:29)

Original Performance on August 24, 1988

1988 – Maida Withers, born and raised in southern and central Utah, returned to the land of her birth in Utah several times over a seven-year period to study and remember the Earth and reengage with her more primal self.  This period was important to her knowledge for the many Earth works that she conceived of and danced. The project featured several two to six week residencies in the Four Corners Area (Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado).  Her constant companion for these adventures of research was Verabel Call Cluff.  Joe Pachak was very instrumental in the selection of four locations for research and filming. Bruce Hucko was our photographer, artist-collaborator.  Sunny and Hardy Redd with their generosity with their home, truck, food, ideas, made the project possible. These many residencies was brash and daring in many ways.  Generally we lived out on the Earth without a tent or other protection.  We rose with the Sun and laughed with the stars.

Works for stage and film based on these residencies included:

In Winds of Sand
Sands Cycles (Film)
Utah * Spirit Place * Spirit Planet * Tukuhnikivatz
TUK (Tukuhnikivatz) (Film)
TUK (Performance Installation for Utah * Spirit Place *Spirit Planet)
Ledge (Moving Earth / Dunes; Mountain Birthing; Path / Migration)
Spirit Path / Migration / Remains
Still Rush
Earth Spirit Rising
She was a visitor
Rolling Thunder
Sky Cloud
Prologue –  How the West Was Won (Cowboys and Indians Play)
others

 

What the press is saying

"As solar rays eclipse a desert turret, birds of prey, wings outstretched in flight, emerge in silhouette against a rocky ledge. these, however are not natural anyon country sky dwellers. They are member of the Maida Withers Dance Construtoin Company creating new dimensions in environmental expression. In some instances, the dancers perform on cliffs 1,00 feet in the air. The company is at work in San Juan Country producing two projects: an experimental dance video for television broadcast and background footage for a stage presentation to premier in Washington DC. During their five-week stay in San Juan the dance troupe - chosen for their outdoor experience and interet in the project - have hiked, camped, rehearsed, and performed on location. Several sites in the county ere selected for natural props. arches, cliffs, alcoves, monuments and aspect groves ecame implements in an interpretive portrayal of the environment and the cultural aspects inherent in the landscape. San Juan county was chosen for the project because of its primitive nature. Withers, a natie of Southern Utah, says she feels, "There is a basic national ignorance of Utah." She wants to expose the "tremendous amount of artistic wealth in the area." Along with that her desire is to capture the cultural essence of the region. She says, we feel a connetion with the history of the area. I think thereis a very powerful spiritual thing inthis land. When one finds holes carved out where people have limbed or wagon tracks worn in the rocks, there's a sense of physical struggle...a feeling of participation in something bigger than self." Hardy and Sunny Redd of Monticello opened their home to the dancers for use a base camp. Dr. Kay Shumway of the College of Eastern Utah San Juan Center helped establish the dancers into the area. Joe Pachak of the White Mesa Institute provided assistance with site location and background information. San Juan School district allowed the use of Mexican Hat Elementary to recharge equipment, the LDS churches in Blanding and Monticello were utilized for rehearsals and local merchants willingly acquired special foods for the dancers vegetarian diets. Withers stated tha the non ash donations, the generosity, enthusiasm and trust of the people inthe area helped make the project possible. " Jody Bailey

Artists and Collaborators
Author of the Idea; co-researcher; desert rat; cowgirl
Co-researcher; driver; inspiration; artist
Guide and co-desert rat
Photographer and bachelor at large
Support of home, truck, and all things personal
Video - Camera
Video Edit
Grandfather and Grandmother with vision
Father and Mother, loved the earth
Beta Camera
Dancers in Video
Additional Information