ABOUT TU DANCE

Founded in 2004 by Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands in Saint Paul, Minnesota, TU Dance is a leading voice for contemporary dance. The 10-member, professional company is acclaimed for its diverse and versatile artists, performing work that draws together modern dance, classical ballet, African-based and urban vernacular movements.

“Dance creates a shared experience—an undeniable space where a diverse community of audience and artists connect to a common power.

We founded TU Dance to create access and opportunity—a platform for performers, students and audiences to engage the remarkable art form that shaped our lives.”

Toni Pierce-Sands & Uri Sands, Artistic Directors

The TU Dance repertory features original work by Uri Sands, as well as renowned choreographers including Dwight Rhoden, Ron K. Brown, Kyle Abraham, Gioconda Barbuto, Katrin Hall, Gregory Dolbashian and Camille A. Brown. Through celebrated performances of the professional company and accessible dance education at TU Dance Center, TU Dance provides opportunities for everyone to experience the connective power of dance.

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THE CONNECTIVE POWER OF DANCE

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THE 2019-20 TWIN CITIES PERFORMANCE SEASON

Photo by Michael Slobodian | Dancer: Amanda Sachs

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Fall Dance Concert ▪ October 18-20, 2019

The O’Shaughnessy, Saint Paul | Tickets | 1672754-inline-iconbwAccessibility

TU Dance’s 16th season opens at The O’Shaughnessy with an evening featuring two company premieres by Artistic Director Uri Sands. Something Amber (2012), originally commissioned by Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program, is a full company work inspired by an illustrious string composition by neoclassical composer Vladimir Martynov. Tracks (2018), a full company work set to the legendary sounds of R&B music’s The O’Jays and originally commissioned by Ailey II, references the markings, wounds, and scars that our history leaves on us, pathways created or followed in life, and the regimen of building railroad tracks; manual labor and the arduousness of continuing on despite life’s challenges, in an effort to create better tomorrows. The program also includes Ronald K. Brown’s Clear as Tear Water (2005), a solo originally created for Toni Pierce-Sands that explores the balance of a woman’s vulnerability and strength as she is supported by generations of women before her, and a reprisal of Sands’s Salve (2017), originally commissioned by Ballet Memphis and set to the music of Gavin Bryars, a meditative work for eight dancers that illustrates the idea of healing through the simple action of coming together.

Photo by Randy Karels | Dancers: Alanna Morris-Van Tassel and Alexis Staley

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Spring Dance Concert ▪ May 1-3, 2020

The Cowles Center, Minneapolis | Tickets | 1672754-inline-iconbwAccessibility

TU Dance returns to The Cowles Center for its 16th season spring concert as Artistic Directors Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands launch a new choreographic platform for the next generation of creative voices. The program will feature new works by four such creative voices: Yusha-Marie Sorzano, Marcus Jarrell Willis, and a collaboration between Darrius Strong and Christian Warner. 

TOURING & RESIDENCIES

2019-20 Touring & Residencies Schedule

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August, 2019Memphis, TNResidency, Ballet Memphis
August, 2019South Hadley, MAResidency, Mount Holyoke College
September, 2019Oslo, NorwayResidency, DiG
September 27, 2019Porsgrunn, Norwaytid for DANS – "The Duet" Public Performance, Elvespeilet (https://www.elvespeilet.no)
November 22-24, 2019Eau Claire, WI"Come Through" Public Performances, Pablo Center (https://www.pablocenter.org)
December 4 & 5, 2019Brooklyn, NY"Come Through" Public Performances, Kings Theatre (https://www.kingstheatre.com)
January, 2020St. Louis, MOResidency, COCA
February 20 & 21, 2020Houston, TX"Come Through" Public Performances, Jones Hall (https://www.spahouston.org)
February 25 & 26, 2020Nashville, TN"Come Through" Public Performances, Tennessee Performing Arts Center (https://www.tpac.org)
February 29, 2020 New Orleans, LA"Come Through" Public Performance, Saenger Theatre (https://www.saengernola.com)
May 2020Oslo, NorwayResidency, DiG

Booking TU Dance

For booking information, contact manager director Abdo Sayegh Rodriguez at 612-605-1925 or abdo.sayegh@tudance.org. For booking Come Through booking information visit www.comethrough.org

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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through Minnesota State Arts Board Arts Tour, Arts Access, and Operating Support grants, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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“BREATHTAKING…THE SOLD-OUT AUDIENCE RESPONDED WITH A SPONTANEOUS OUTPOURING OF EMOTION”

                                                                                — StarTribune

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THE PERFORMING ARTISTS

Randall Riley

Randall Riley

Mount Vernon, New York

Randall Riley (Company Member) has been ministering, performing, and studying dance since his late childhood. Having trained at diverse schools such as The Rock School at Pennsylvania Ballet, The Ailey School, Ballet Atlantic, and Long Island University Brooklyn Campus’ BFA Program. Randall has worked with a plethora of artist from Earl Mosley, to Darrell Moultrie, Nathan Trice and most recently Ron K. Brown. Randall is a former member of Steps Repertory Ensemble and Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, A Dance Company. Randall joined TU Dance in 2015.

Taylor Collier

Taylor Collier

Washington, D.C.

Taylor Collier is a native of Washington, D.C. where she trained with Kevin T. Malone and the Washington School of Ballet under the direction of Rebecca Wright. In 2014, she graduated summa cum laude from the Dominican University of California/Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA Program. Taylor has also received training from Houston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Springboard Danse Montréal. She has had the privilege to perform in Showboat at the San Francisco Opera, Black Nativity at Penumbra Theatre, and Guys and Dolls at the Guthrie Theater. Taylor joined TU Dance in 2014.

Jake Lewis

Jake Lewis

Saint Louis, Missouri

Jake Lewis (Company Member) is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. In 2010, he was inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts and was a finalist for the NDEO Artistic Merit, Leadership and Academic Achievement Award. Mr. Lewis has worked with choreographers Dwight Rhoden, Victor Quijada, Jean Emile, Jae Man Joo, Darrell Grand Moultrie, and members from Pilobolus. In 2013 and 2014, he performed in Alvin Ailey’s Memoria during Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s New York City Center season. After graduation from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program in 2015, he joined Ailey II. Jacob joined TU Dance in 2017.

Amanda Sachs

Amanda Sachs

Tinton Falls, New Jersey

Amanda Sachs (Company Member) was born and raised in New Jersey. She started her training at The Academy of Dance Arts in Red Bank, New Jersey. At age 17, Amanda moved to San Francisco to be part of the Alonzo King Lines Training Program. During this program she had original roles created on her by Iratxe Ansa, Sidra Bell, Maurya Kerr, Gregory Dawson, Erik Wagner, Kara Davis, Keelan Whitmore, Sandrine Cassini, and Uri Sands as well as performing excerpts of King’s Rasa and Ocean. Following the training program, Amanda joined The Francesca Harper Project in New York City and has also participated in the Metamorphosis International Dance Residency under the direction of Iratxe Ansa and Igor Bacovich. Ms. Sachs joined TU Dance in 2017.

Christian Warner

Christian Warner

Houston, Texas

Christian A. Warner (Company Member) began his professional career at the age of seven in the NetWorks touring production of Oliver! The Musical, and later joined the east coast tour of Disney’s The Lion King as Young Simba, making his broadway debut two years later. He graduated from HSPVA in Houston and Point Park University in Pittsburgh with a BFA in dance. Christian has acquired repertoire by Sonya Tayeh, Troy Powell, Thang Dao, Dwight Rhoden, Larry Keigwin, Jessica Hendricks, Mark Morris, Bennyroyce Royon and Luke Murphy, and Stacey Tookey. He has worked for Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and joined TU Dance in January 2017.

Alexis Staley

Alexis Staley

Baltimore, Maryland

Alexis Staley (Company Member) trained at Baltimore School for the Arts and studied summers on scholarship at Boston Ballet, Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Point Park University, The Ailey School, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Alexis graduated from the Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican University (CA) in 2014, and toured Latin America doing community outreach, performances, and workshops with Juntos Collective. She has been an apprentice with River North Dance Chicago and has danced professionally with Pursuit Productions and San Francisco Opera. Alexis joined TU Dance in 2015.

Kaitlin Bell

Kaitlin Bell

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Kaitlin Bell (Company Member), a Wisconsin native, received her formative training from various dance centers throughout the Milwaukee area. In high school, she worked with Denis Malinkine, head master of The Milwaukee Ballet, as well as professors from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She was first introduced to TU Dance through Toni Pierce-Sands while studying at the University of Minnesota, where she completed her BFA in Dance in 2014. Kaitlin’s performance credits include works by Uri Sands, Donald Byrd, Larry Keigwin, Andre Tyson, Bill T. Jones, Ananya Chatterjea, and Shapiro & Smith. Kaitlin joined TU Dance in 2014.

Alexander Pham

Alexander Pham

Rosemount, Minnesota

Alexander Pham (Company Member), a native of Minnesota, received his BFA in Dance and BS in Human Resource Development from the University of MN Twin Cities with dual honors. Alexander has performed works by artists such as Roy Assaf, Gregory Dolbashian, Martha Graham, Bill T. Jones, Larry Keigwin, Stephen Petronio, Zoe Scofield, and Yin Yue among others. Alexander most recently danced for Spectrum Dance Theater under the artistic direction of Donald Byrd for three years, touring nationally and internationally. He has also performed with Seattle-based company zoe | juniper, and Boise-based company LED. Alexander joined TU Dance in 2018.

MerSadies McCoy

MerSadies McCoy

Saint Paul, Minnesota

MerSadies McCoy (Company Member) graduated from Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists (SPCPA) where she performed works by Kaleena Miller, Katelyn Skelley, Penny Freeh, ARENA Dances and TU Dance. MerSadies continued studying dance at SUNY Purchase College, performing in works by Aszure Barton, Kimberly Bartosik, Tom Weinberger and Kevin Wynn. She was amongst the first students to attend and graduate from the Pre-Professional Program of The School at TU Dance Center. MerSadies joined TU Dance as an apprentice in 2017 and is thrilled to be in her first season as a company member.

DaJuan Johnson

DaJuan Johnson

Saint Louis, Missouri

DaJuan Johnson (Company Member), a native of St. Louis, Missouri, trained with Judy Best-Person of Best Talent Center, as well as at Central Visual Performing Arts High School, Center of Creative Arts (COCA), and Alexandra School of Ballet. DaJuan graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a BFA in performance technique in 2017. He taught at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Summer Camp from 2016-2018 and attended Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program from 2017-2019. DaJuan joined TU Dance in 2019.

Samantha Meryhew

Samantha Meryhew

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Samantha Meryhew (Apprentice), a St. Paul native, began training towards a professional career in 2011 as part of the first generation of The School at TU Dance Center Pre-Professional Program. She has performed in works by Garth Fagan, Brian Brooks, Marcus Jarrell Willis and Kjara Staric Wurst, and has been a guest artist with Shapiro & Smith Dance, performing in their production of Bolero in the Spring of 2017 and 2018. Samantha has a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Art from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Samantha was a trainee with TU Dance during the 2018-19 season, and joined the company as an apprentice in 2019.

Samantha Lewis

Samantha Lewis

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Samantha Lewis (Trainee) was born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and trained at Minnesota Dance Theatre and then at The School at TU Dance Center. She received her BFA in Dance from Rutgers University in 2019. Samantha has performed works by Yin Yue, Maxine Doyle, Pam Tanowitz, Mark Morris, Alonzo King, Dwight Rhoden, Greg Dolbashian, Uri Sands, and Loyce Houlton. Samantha joined TU Dance as a trainee in 2019.

Connor Simone

Connor Simone

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Connor Simone (Trainee), a Twin Cities native, received training at Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, The School at TU Dance Center, and the University of Minnesota. He will receive his BA in Dance from the University in the Spring of 2020. He has performed works by Uri Sands, Marcus Jarrell Willis, Kjara Wurst, Gregory Dolbashian, Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, Will Couture, Carl Flink, Sidra Bell, and Maurya Kerr, among others. Connor most recently performed with the University of Minnesota Dance Theatre under the direction of Erin Thompson. Connor joined TU Dance as a trainee in 2019.

Randall Riley

Randall Riley

Mount Vernon, New York

Randall Riley (Company Member) has been ministering, performing, and studying dance since his late childhood. Having trained at diverse schools such as The Rock School at Pennsylvania Ballet, The Ailey School, Ballet Atlantic, and Long Island University Brooklyn Campus’ BFA Program. Randall has worked with a plethora of artist from Earl Mosley, to Darrell Moultrie, Nathan Trice and most recently Ron K. Brown. Randall is a former member of Steps Repertory Ensemble and Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, A Dance Company. Randall joined TU Dance in 2015.

Taylor Collier

Taylor Collier

Washington, D.C.

Taylor Collier is a native of Washington, D.C. where she trained with Kevin T. Malone and the Washington School of Ballet under the direction of Rebecca Wright. In 2014, she graduated summa cum laude from the Dominican University of California/Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA Program. Taylor has also received training from Houston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Springboard Danse Montréal. She has had the privilege to perform in Showboat at the San Francisco Opera, Black Nativity at Penumbra Theatre, and Guys and Dolls at the Guthrie Theater. Taylor joined TU Dance in 2014.

Jake Lewis

Jake Lewis

Saint Louis, Missouri

Jake Lewis (Company Member) is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. In 2010, he was inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts and was a finalist for the NDEO Artistic Merit, Leadership and Academic Achievement Award. Mr. Lewis has worked with choreographers Dwight Rhoden, Victor Quijada, Jean Emile, Jae Man Joo, Darrell Grand Moultrie, and members from Pilobolus. In 2013 and 2014, he performed in Alvin Ailey’s Memoria during Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s New York City Center season. After graduation from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program in 2015, he joined Ailey II. Jacob joined TU Dance in 2017.

Amanda Sachs

Amanda Sachs

Tinton Falls, New Jersey

Amanda Sachs (Company Member) was born and raised in New Jersey. She started her training at The Academy of Dance Arts in Red Bank, New Jersey. At age 17, Amanda moved to San Francisco to be part of the Alonzo King Lines Training Program. During this program she had original roles created on her by Iratxe Ansa, Sidra Bell, Maurya Kerr, Gregory Dawson, Erik Wagner, Kara Davis, Keelan Whitmore, Sandrine Cassini, and Uri Sands as well as performing excerpts of King’s Rasa and Ocean. Following the training program, Amanda joined The Francesca Harper Project in New York City and has also participated in the Metamorphosis International Dance Residency under the direction of Iratxe Ansa and Igor Bacovich. Ms. Sachs joined TU Dance in 2017.

Christian Warner

Christian Warner

Houston, Texas

Christian A. Warner (Company Member) began his professional career at the age of seven in the NetWorks touring production of Oliver! The Musical, and later joined the east coast tour of Disney’s The Lion King as Young Simba, making his broadway debut two years later. He graduated from HSPVA in Houston and Point Park University in Pittsburgh with a BFA in dance. Christian has acquired repertoire by Sonya Tayeh, Troy Powell, Thang Dao, Dwight Rhoden, Larry Keigwin, Jessica Hendricks, Mark Morris, Bennyroyce Royon and Luke Murphy, and Stacey Tookey. He has worked for Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and joined TU Dance in January 2017.

Alexis Staley

Alexis Staley

Baltimore, Maryland

Alexis Staley (Company Member) trained at Baltimore School for the Arts and studied summers on scholarship at Boston Ballet, Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Point Park University, The Ailey School, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Alexis graduated from the Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican University (CA) in 2014, and toured Latin America doing community outreach, performances, and workshops with Juntos Collective. She has been an apprentice with River North Dance Chicago and has danced professionally with Pursuit Productions and San Francisco Opera. Alexis joined TU Dance in 2015.

Kaitlin Bell

Kaitlin Bell

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Kaitlin Bell (Company Member), a Wisconsin native, received her formative training from various dance centers throughout the Milwaukee area. In high school, she worked with Denis Malinkine, head master of The Milwaukee Ballet, as well as professors from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She was first introduced to TU Dance through Toni Pierce-Sands while studying at the University of Minnesota, where she completed her BFA in Dance in 2014. Kaitlin’s performance credits include works by Uri Sands, Donald Byrd, Larry Keigwin, Andre Tyson, Bill T. Jones, Ananya Chatterjea, and Shapiro & Smith. Kaitlin joined TU Dance in 2014.

Alexander Pham

Alexander Pham

Rosemount, Minnesota

Alexander Pham (Company Member), a native of Minnesota, received his BFA in Dance and BS in Human Resource Development from the University of MN Twin Cities with dual honors. Alexander has performed works by artists such as Roy Assaf, Gregory Dolbashian, Martha Graham, Bill T. Jones, Larry Keigwin, Stephen Petronio, Zoe Scofield, and Yin Yue among others. Alexander most recently danced for Spectrum Dance Theater under the artistic direction of Donald Byrd for three years, touring nationally and internationally. He has also performed with Seattle-based company zoe | juniper, and Boise-based company LED. Alexander joined TU Dance in 2018.

MerSadies McCoy

MerSadies McCoy

Saint Paul, Minnesota

MerSadies McCoy (Company Member) graduated from Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists (SPCPA) where she performed works by Kaleena Miller, Katelyn Skelley, Penny Freeh, ARENA Dances and TU Dance. MerSadies continued studying dance at SUNY Purchase College, performing in works by Aszure Barton, Kimberly Bartosik, Tom Weinberger and Kevin Wynn. She was amongst the first students to attend and graduate from the Pre-Professional Program of The School at TU Dance Center. MerSadies joined TU Dance as an apprentice in 2017 and is thrilled to be in her first season as a company member.

DaJuan Johnson

DaJuan Johnson

Saint Louis, Missouri

DaJuan Johnson (Company Member), a native of St. Louis, Missouri, trained with Judy Best-Person of Best Talent Center, as well as at Central Visual Performing Arts High School, Center of Creative Arts (COCA), and Alexandra School of Ballet. DaJuan graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a BFA in performance technique in 2017. He taught at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Summer Camp from 2016-2018 and attended Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program from 2017-2019. DaJuan joined TU Dance in 2019.

Samantha Meryhew

Samantha Meryhew

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Samantha Meryhew (Apprentice), a St. Paul native, began training towards a professional career in 2011 as part of the first generation of The School at TU Dance Center Pre-Professional Program. She has performed in works by Garth Fagan, Brian Brooks, Marcus Jarrell Willis and Kjara Staric Wurst, and has been a guest artist with Shapiro & Smith Dance, performing in their production of Bolero in the Spring of 2017 and 2018. Samantha has a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Art from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Samantha was a trainee with TU Dance during the 2018-19 season, and joined the company as an apprentice in 2019.

Samantha Lewis

Samantha Lewis

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Samantha Lewis (Trainee) was born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and trained at Minnesota Dance Theatre and then at The School at TU Dance Center. She received her BFA in Dance from Rutgers University in 2019. Samantha has performed works by Yin Yue, Maxine Doyle, Pam Tanowitz, Mark Morris, Alonzo King, Dwight Rhoden, Greg Dolbashian, Uri Sands, and Loyce Houlton. Samantha joined TU Dance as a trainee in 2019.

Connor Simone

Connor Simone

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Connor Simone (Trainee), a Twin Cities native, received training at Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, The School at TU Dance Center, and the University of Minnesota. He will receive his BA in Dance from the University in the Spring of 2020. He has performed works by Uri Sands, Marcus Jarrell Willis, Kjara Wurst, Gregory Dolbashian, Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, Will Couture, Carl Flink, Sidra Bell, and Maurya Kerr, among others. Connor most recently performed with the University of Minnesota Dance Theatre under the direction of Erin Thompson. Connor joined TU Dance as a trainee in 2019.

THE SCHOOL AT TU DANCE CENTER

The School at TU Dance Center was formed in 2011, realizing Toni and Uri’s vision for an educational program committed to access and excellence.   The School shares TU Dance Center with the professional company, providing unparalleled opportunities for students of all ages to learn from working dancers, seasoned faculty, and distinguished guest artists who are frequently in residence with the company.

“students come out of the program with self-confidence, with the ability to transform their lives, with the gift of having experienced pure joy.”Natalie, a TU Dance Center parent

The School is organized in three divisions: the children and teen program introduces the joy of creative movement and beginning dance technique; the pre-professional program trains aspiring dancers up to age 23 who are considering dance careers; and the open program welcomes everyone to join individual classes in a range of techniques including ballet, modern and West African dance.

PROGRAMS, CLASSES & FACULTY

To learn more about the offerings of The School at TU Dance Center, including class schedules and registration information,
>>click here to visit the programs, classes & faculty page<<

GIVING

Supporters Like You Make TU Dance Possible

Through performance, community engagement and education, TU Dance celebrates the connective power of dance for audiences, students and performing artists. Since our founding in 2004, generous gifts from individual donors have made this work possible. In fact, a November 2012 Minnpost article cited TU Dance among 18 highest impact nonprofits in providing access to the arts. With your donation to our annual fund, you are supporting the connective power of dance in local and touring performances, community engagement and training for students at TU Dance Center in Saint Paul. Click here to give to our annual fund through the GiveMN.org site.

Give to the Max Day, November 14!

Beginning on November 1, you can schedule your Give to the Max Day gift. Gifts scheduled between November 1 and November 14 are counted towards Give to the Max Day prize incentives which total more than $100,000! Help us have a greater impact on audiences, students and artists engaging the remarkable art form of dance. Click here to see the youth of TU Dance Center share what TU Dance means to them.

Click here for a snapshot of TU Dance in numbers.
Click here for a list of current TU Dance donors.

TU Dance was named by Minnpost among the highest impact nonprofits in providing access to the arts MinnPost, November 2012

TU Dance activities are made possible with major support from 3Mgives, Aroha Philanthropies, International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD), John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Knox Foundation, Marbrook Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Target Foundation, The Rosemary and David Good Family Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, Amazon Smile Foundation, PayPal Giving Fund and Bremer Bank
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Made possible by the voters of Minnesota through Minnesota State Arts Board Arts Tour and Operating Support grants, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Finding TU Dance Center

 

TU Dance Center is located at 2121 University Avenue West in the Raymond-Midway area of St. Paul, just east of Vandalia Street, directly behind Subway restaurant.  By public transit, the center is 2.5 blocks east of the Raymond Avenue LRT Station on the Green Line. By car, the center is convenient to I-94 and both downtowns. Accessible parking and wheelchair ramp access is available directly in front of our main entrance on the building’s east side.

 

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TU Dance Center 44.960672, -93.188353
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