NEW LOCATION: Indigenous Choreograpers: Grupo Sotz’il

Grupo Sotz’il
Uk’u’x Ulew: Heart of Earth
(in conjunction with Medicine Ways)

May 5, 2018
Saturday, 6:30-8:00 PM
NEW Location: UCR, Arts Building Courtyard
NEW Parking: Complimentary permits available in Lot 1
Free and open to the public with RSVP

Grupo Sotz’il:
Daniel Fernando Guarcax González: musician/dancer and Grupo Sotz’il’s coordinator, in the role of Iq’ (Air/Bird)
Jorge Chiyal Chumil: musician/dancer, in the role of Ya (Water/Fish)
Marcelino Chiyal Yaxón: musician/dancer, in the role of Q’aq’ (Fire/Bat)
Juan Carlos Chiyal Yaxón: musician/dancer, in the role of Tz’i’ (Word/ Dog)
Luís Cumes: musician/dancer, in the role of Ik’ (Moon)
Mercedes García: musician/dancer, in the role of Ix (Earth/Jaguar)
César Augusto Guarcax Chopén: musician/dancer, in the role of K’aslemal (Life)
Víctor Manuel Barillas Crispín: Artistic Director

Uk’u’x Ulew, Heart of Earth. Uk’u’x Ulew is a multisensorial Maya dance-ritual. Its interactive choreography provokes embodied reflection on the environmental/political/spiritual dimensions of our planetary crisis—stressing human complicity while restoring reciprocity with our ecological matrix, or Uk’u’x Ulew. A multi-disciplinary dance work performed with live music, Uk’u’x Ulew was created collectively by Grupo Sotz’il’s eight Kaqchikel and Mam Maya dancer-musicians and dramaturg.

In this 60-minute performance of xajoj q’ojom (music/dance), fire, water, earth, and air interact in harmony and conflict. From their collusion and collision, K’aslemal, life, is born. The exuberance reaches beyond the borders of the performance space, but Tz’i’—the hound that embodies the word—signals danger.

About Grupo Sotz’il
Grupo Sotz’il was founded 17 years ago in El Tablón, Sololá, Guatemala. The eight-member ensemble of young Kaqchikel and Mam multidisciplinary artists is dedicated to researching, creating, and promoting Mayan knowledge and arts that have been persecuted since the Spanish invasion of 1524, during 36 years of genocidal war (1960-1996), and in the current socio-political context of neocolonial violence against Guatemala’s 24 Indigenous nations. The ensemble performs with the intent of presenting their long suppressed Mayan history and culture to eyes and ears across the globe. Grupo Sotz’il’s art reflects the present and envisions the future, with firm roots in the wisdom and knowledge of their ancestors.

Grupo Sotz’il’s participation in this year’s Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside Gathering is an enactment of the group’s desire to re-activate the long-standing connection between Indigenous peoples of the four directions, a multivalent circuit of exchange that predates the colonial imposition of borders. This commitment to transnational Indigenous solidarity has taken Grupo Sotz’il to almost every continent, where they have engaged in reciprocal sharing of knowledge and story. Selected by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ prestigious National Dance Project Touring Award, this is Grupo Sotz’il’s first visit to Cahuilla, Tongva, Serrano, Luiseño (Payómkawichum), Cupeño and Kumeyaay lands and their first time participating in the ICR. With the opportunity afforded by the ICR to dialogue–through words and movement–with artists and scholars from throughout Abya Yala/Turtle Island, Grupo Sotz’il looks forward to new connections toward future collaborations and forms of solidarity.

The presentation of Uk’u’x Ulew is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Uk’u’x Ulew: Heart of Earth is presented as part of Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside Gathering
in collaboration with Medicine Ways/Native American Student Programs

María Regina Firmino-Castillo, Event Artistic Direction
Joshua Gonzalez, Native American Student Programs Director
Jacqueline Shea Murphy, ICR Co-Director
Magnolia Yang Sao Yia, ICR Assistant Coordinator
Grant Bowen, Production Manager; Jeff Zahos, Sound Consultant; Kathy DeAtley, Program Promotions Manager


Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 6:30pm to 8:00pm

Arts Building, Courtyard near the Performance Lab, ARTS 166
Arts Building, Riverside, CA 92507

Event Type

Arts, Music & Concerts, Dance


Faculty & Staff, Undergraduate Students, International Students, Transfer Students, General Public



Free and open to the public with RSVP

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