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 12-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 Brown, Katrin Hall, Gregory Dolbashian and Camille 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 2015-16 TWIN CITIES PERFORMANCE SEASON

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Fall Dance Concert ▪ November 20-22, 2015

The O’Shaughnessy, Saint Paul | Tickets | 1672754-inline-iconbwAccessibility
Join us at The O’Shaughnessy in Saint Paul for the opening of our 12th performance season with a fall dance concert featuring a world premiere work by Italian-Canadian choreographer and 2015 McKnight International Choreographer Gioconda Barbuto as well as selections from the TU Dance repertory.

Footprint1_19112015_086 photo©Michael Slobodian_lowres

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Spring Dance Concert ▪ May 20-22, 2016

The Cowles Center, Minneapolis | Tickets | 1672754-inline-iconbwAccessibility
Join us, as TU Dance returns to the Cowles Center for its 2016 spring dance concert—an evening featuring Candle, an original commission by celebrated New York choreographer and Macarthur Fellow Kyle Abraham. New work by Uri Sands is also on the program, drawing on the choreographer’s recent winter residency in Paris. Starting with the childhood belief that we disappear when closing our eyes, Sands’ No One Will See shifts between dimensions of reality and fantasy, exploring physicality in cycles of life, love and loss. The evening also includes Sands’ Veneers (2006), “a blend of intelligence and beauty, rigorous structure, inventive choreography and integrity of performance so singularly wrought that the work rips your expectations from their moorings” (Camille LeFevre, StarTribune).

TOURING & RESIDENCIES

2014-15 Touring & Residencies Schedule

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Sept. 7-19, 2015San Francisco, CAResidency at Lines Ballet Training Program
Dec. 3-20, 2015Saint Paul, MNPublic Performance, Black Nativity, Penumbra Theatre
Jan. 13 & 17, 2016New York, NYPublic Performance, American Dance Platform, Joyce Theater
Jan. 18-23, 2016Saint Joseph, MNResidency at College of Saint Benedict
Jan. 30, 2016Saint Joseph, MNPublic Performance, College of Saint Benedict
April 22, 2016Big Fork, MNSchool Performance, The Edge Center for the Arts
April 23, 2016Big Fork, MNPublic Performance, The Edge Center for the Arts
April 29, 2016Saint Peter, MNPublic Performance, Gustavus Adolphus College

Booking TU Dance

For booking information, contact manager director Abdo Sayegh Rodriguez at 612-605-1925 or abdo.sayegh@tudance.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

Alanna Morris-Van Tassel

Alanna Morris-Van Tassel

Brooklyn, New York

Alanna Morris-Van Tassel (Company Member) is a native of Brooklyn, New York. She began dancing at age 5 studying a variety of dance styles. She is a graduate of the La Guardia High School of Music and Art & the Performing Arts. Alanna received her B.F.A. from The Juilliard School, under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes. She has worked professionally with Nathan Trice/Rituals. Alanna received the 2011 SAGE Award for Outstanding Performer, and a 2015 McKnight Fellowship for Dancers. Alanna joined the company in 2007.

Duncan Schultz

Duncan Schultz

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Duncan Schultz (Company Member), a Minnesota native, is a University of Minnesota graduate with a B.A. in Dance. During his college career, he performed in works by Jose Limón, Louis Falco, Laurie Carlos and Shapiro and Smith. He has also spent time training at the Alvin Ailey Dance School, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and most recently completed the Alonzo King LINES Ballet 2012 Summer Program. Duncan has performed with ARENA Dances, and joined TU Dance as a company member in 2010. He was recently honored with a 2014 Outstanding Performer Award from the SAGE Awards for Dance.

Katelyn Skelley

Katelyn Skelley

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Katelyn Skelley (Company Member, Assistant to the Choreographer) is a native of Minneapolis and began her training at Minnesota Dance Theatre & School, and studied summers at the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, with Alonzo King Lines and at the Springboard Dance Festival in Montreal. Katelyn received her BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, performing works by Karole Armitage and Dwight Rhoden, among others. She has danced with Kyle Abraham, Cherylyn Lavagnino, Gallin Dance and Dre Dance in New York, and locally with the MovingCompany, Theater Forever, Live Action Set and Nic Lincoln. Katelyn joined TU Dance in 2008.

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. Former member of Steps Repertory Ensemble and Ronald K. Brown/Evidence a Dance Company, this is Randall’s first season with TU Dance.

Elayna Waxse

Elayna Waxse

Overland Park, Kansas

Elayna Waxse (Company Member) received her early training with Alecia Good, and at the Kansas City Ballet School, spending summers at the School of American Ballet. She continued her training at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School as a Professional Division student, where she performed frequently with the company. Elayna has been a member of Minnesota Dance Theatre, Colorado Ballet and Black Label Movement, where she performed works by Dwight Rhoden, George Balanchine, Loyce Houlton, and Christopher Wheeldon. Most recently, she performed with Cie. Ismael Ivo e Grupo Biblioteca do Corpo at ImPuls Tanz Vienna International Dance Festival 2014, and in São Paulo, Brazil. Elayna has danced with TU Dance since 2012.

Taylor Collier

Taylor Collier

Washington, D.C.

Taylor Collier (Company Member) is a native of Washington, D.C. where she trained at the Washington School of Ballet under the direction of Mary Day and Rebecca Wright. She most recently received her B.F.A. in Dance from Dominican University of California/Alonzo King Lines Ballet B.F.A. Program. She has attended summer programs at the Rock School of Dance, Houston Ballet, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. In 2014, she performed in the San Francisco Opera’s production of Showboat. Taylor joined TU Dance in 2014.

Youthen Joseph

Youthen Joseph

New York, New York

Youthen Joseph (Company Member), born in Trinidad and Tobago, came to New York City at the age of six. He began his training at John Dewey high school under the instruction of John Michael Goring and studied at The Martha Graham School for Contemporary Dance, Alvin Ailey, Alonzo King Lines Ballet Training Program and Deeply Rooted. He has performed work by Alonzo King, Martha Graham, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Andre Zachary, Obediah Wright, Kevin Iega Jeff, Lee Wei Chao and Eleo Pomare. Youthen has performed with the Graham Ensemble, Renegade Performance Group, Balance Dance Theater, and Whitney Hunter/ Medium. This is his first season with TU Dance.

Tara Cacciatore

Tara Cacciatore

St. Louis, Missouri

Tara W. F. Cacciatore (Company Member), from St. Louis, Missouri, graduated with honors with a BFA in Dance from Webster University and recipient of the Chalot Douglas Trust Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts. While in college she performed at the Kennedy Center in Iyun Harrison’s Union, a role created for her. She has worked professionally with Karlovsky & Company Dance, Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company, ANNONYArts and aTrek Dance Collective. Tara has performed in lead roles such as Anonymous by Jessica Lang and One choreographed by Uri Sands, where she was first introduced to his work. Tara joined TU Dance in 2014.

Darwin Black

Darwin Black

Newark, New Jersey

Darwin Black (Company Member) of Newark, New Jersey began dancing at age 16 and graduated from Newark Arts High School under the direction of Ronnie D. Carney and Kim Richardson. Darwin furthered his training under Nancy Turano with the New Jersey Dance Theater Ensemble, and at Alvin Ailey as a fellowship student. His professional career includes Miami Contemporary Dance Company, performing repertory by Ray Sullivan; Sacramento Ballet, dancing in works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, and Trey McIntyre, among others; and Pascal Rioult Dance Theater. As a freelance dance artist he danced with Alaska Dance Theater, Momix, and Nimbus Dance Works. Darwin joined the company in 2013.

Alexis Staley

Alexis Staley

Baltimore, Maryland

Alexis Staley (Company Member) trained at Baltimore School for the Arts under the direction of Norma Pera 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. During college, she 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. Performance credits include works by Gregory Dawson, Maurya Kerr, Uri Sands, Francesca Harper and Debbie Allen. She joined TU Dance in 2015.

Kaitlin Setzke

Kaitlin Setzke

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Kaitlin Setzke (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.

Curtis Thomas

Curtis Thomas

New Orleans, Louisiana

Curtis Thomas (Apprentice), a native of New Orleans, began his dance training with the New Orleans Ballet Association’s Center for Dance. He has also trained at the Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA program, and received his degree in Dance from The Boston Conservatory. While at the Conservatory he performed the works of Bill T. Jones, Danny Buraczeski, Doug Elkins, Dwight Rhoden, and Francesca Harper. He has worked with the New Orleans Ballet Theater, Marigny Opera House Dance Company and Narcisse Movement Project in New Orleans. Curtis is also a proud member of the JUNTOS Collective, an organization committed to intercultural exchange and global unity through dance.

Alanna Morris-Van Tassel

Alanna Morris-Van Tassel

Brooklyn, New York

Alanna Morris-Van Tassel (Company Member) is a native of Brooklyn, New York. She began dancing at age 5 studying a variety of dance styles. She is a graduate of the La Guardia High School of Music and Art & the Performing Arts. Alanna received her B.F.A. from The Juilliard School, under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes. She has worked professionally with Nathan Trice/Rituals. Alanna received the 2011 SAGE Award for Outstanding Performer, and a 2015 McKnight Fellowship for Dancers. Alanna joined the company in 2007.

Duncan Schultz

Duncan Schultz

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Duncan Schultz (Company Member), a Minnesota native, is a University of Minnesota graduate with a B.A. in Dance. During his college career, he performed in works by Jose Limón, Louis Falco, Laurie Carlos and Shapiro and Smith. He has also spent time training at the Alvin Ailey Dance School, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and most recently completed the Alonzo King LINES Ballet 2012 Summer Program. Duncan has performed with ARENA Dances, and joined TU Dance as a company member in 2010. He was recently honored with a 2014 Outstanding Performer Award from the SAGE Awards for Dance.

Katelyn Skelley

Katelyn Skelley

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Katelyn Skelley (Company Member, Assistant to the Choreographer) is a native of Minneapolis and began her training at Minnesota Dance Theatre & School, and studied summers at the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, with Alonzo King Lines and at the Springboard Dance Festival in Montreal. Katelyn received her BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, performing works by Karole Armitage and Dwight Rhoden, among others. She has danced with Kyle Abraham, Cherylyn Lavagnino, Gallin Dance and Dre Dance in New York, and locally with the MovingCompany, Theater Forever, Live Action Set and Nic Lincoln. Katelyn joined TU Dance in 2008.

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. Former member of Steps Repertory Ensemble and Ronald K. Brown/Evidence a Dance Company, this is Randall’s first season with TU Dance.

Elayna Waxse

Elayna Waxse

Overland Park, Kansas

Elayna Waxse (Company Member) received her early training with Alecia Good, and at the Kansas City Ballet School, spending summers at the School of American Ballet. She continued her training at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School as a Professional Division student, where she performed frequently with the company. Elayna has been a member of Minnesota Dance Theatre, Colorado Ballet and Black Label Movement, where she performed works by Dwight Rhoden, George Balanchine, Loyce Houlton, and Christopher Wheeldon. Most recently, she performed with Cie. Ismael Ivo e Grupo Biblioteca do Corpo at ImPuls Tanz Vienna International Dance Festival 2014, and in São Paulo, Brazil. Elayna has danced with TU Dance since 2012.

Taylor Collier

Taylor Collier

Washington, D.C.

Taylor Collier (Company Member) is a native of Washington, D.C. where she trained at the Washington School of Ballet under the direction of Mary Day and Rebecca Wright. She most recently received her B.F.A. in Dance from Dominican University of California/Alonzo King Lines Ballet B.F.A. Program. She has attended summer programs at the Rock School of Dance, Houston Ballet, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. In 2014, she performed in the San Francisco Opera’s production of Showboat. Taylor joined TU Dance in 2014.

Youthen Joseph

Youthen Joseph

New York, New York

Youthen Joseph (Company Member), born in Trinidad and Tobago, came to New York City at the age of six. He began his training at John Dewey high school under the instruction of John Michael Goring and studied at The Martha Graham School for Contemporary Dance, Alvin Ailey, Alonzo King Lines Ballet Training Program and Deeply Rooted. He has performed work by Alonzo King, Martha Graham, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Andre Zachary, Obediah Wright, Kevin Iega Jeff, Lee Wei Chao and Eleo Pomare. Youthen has performed with the Graham Ensemble, Renegade Performance Group, Balance Dance Theater, and Whitney Hunter/ Medium. This is his first season with TU Dance.

Tara Cacciatore

Tara Cacciatore

St. Louis, Missouri

Tara W. F. Cacciatore (Company Member), from St. Louis, Missouri, graduated with honors with a BFA in Dance from Webster University and recipient of the Chalot Douglas Trust Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts. While in college she performed at the Kennedy Center in Iyun Harrison’s Union, a role created for her. She has worked professionally with Karlovsky & Company Dance, Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company, ANNONYArts and aTrek Dance Collective. Tara has performed in lead roles such as Anonymous by Jessica Lang and One choreographed by Uri Sands, where she was first introduced to his work. Tara joined TU Dance in 2014.

Darwin Black

Darwin Black

Newark, New Jersey

Darwin Black (Company Member) of Newark, New Jersey began dancing at age 16 and graduated from Newark Arts High School under the direction of Ronnie D. Carney and Kim Richardson. Darwin furthered his training under Nancy Turano with the New Jersey Dance Theater Ensemble, and at Alvin Ailey as a fellowship student. His professional career includes Miami Contemporary Dance Company, performing repertory by Ray Sullivan; Sacramento Ballet, dancing in works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, and Trey McIntyre, among others; and Pascal Rioult Dance Theater. As a freelance dance artist he danced with Alaska Dance Theater, Momix, and Nimbus Dance Works. Darwin joined the company in 2013.

Alexis Staley

Alexis Staley

Baltimore, Maryland

Alexis Staley (Company Member) trained at Baltimore School for the Arts under the direction of Norma Pera 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. During college, she 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. Performance credits include works by Gregory Dawson, Maurya Kerr, Uri Sands, Francesca Harper and Debbie Allen. She joined TU Dance in 2015.

Kaitlin Setzke

Kaitlin Setzke

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Kaitlin Setzke (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.

Curtis Thomas

Curtis Thomas

New Orleans, Louisiana

Curtis Thomas (Apprentice), a native of New Orleans, began his dance training with the New Orleans Ballet Association’s Center for Dance. He has also trained at the Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA program, and received his degree in Dance from The Boston Conservatory. While at the Conservatory he performed the works of Bill T. Jones, Danny Buraczeski, Doug Elkins, Dwight Rhoden, and Francesca Harper. He has worked with the New Orleans Ballet Theater, Marigny Opera House Dance Company and Narcisse Movement Project in New Orleans. Curtis is also a proud member of the JUNTOS Collective, an organization committed to intercultural exchange and global unity through dance.

THE SCHOOL AT TU DANCE CENTER

Alanna summer intensive photo
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 techniquess 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, outreach and education, TU Dance celebrates the connective power of dance for audiences, students and performing artists. In the eleven years since our founding, 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, educational outreach programs and training for students at TU Dance Center in Saint Paul. Click here to give to our annual fund through the GiveMN.org site.

We Made It! The Studio 2 Campaign

As we finish expansion of our studio facilities at TU Dance Center, we are deeply grateful for over 110 donors who contributed to to our Indiegogo campaign supporting our new space.   Click here to see the youth of TU Dance Center take you on a short video tour.  Gifts to this campaign helped purchase ballet barres, piano & drums, a sound system, and a new sprung floor for Studio 2.  Due to campaign support from Local Initiatives Support Corporation, every dollar of this one-month fund drive went directly to the purchase of musical instruments and dance equipment for TU Dance Center.

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

TU Dance activities are made possible with major support from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Target Foundation, The Saint Paul Foundation, F.R. Bigelow Foundation, General Mills Foundation, The David and Rosemary Good Family Foundation, Markell C. Brooks Fund for Dance of the Minneapolis Foundation,  Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker Foundation, City of Saint Paul Cultural STAR, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Minnesota State Arts Board
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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.

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 44.960747, -93.188382
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