Please join us for the TU Dance 2019 Advanced Pre-Professional Summer Intensive.
This program is designed for advanced pre-professional students (ages 17-24) who are interested in strengthening technique, developing their artistry and participating in a professional level creative process. Students will work with TU Dance Artistic Directors Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, TU Dance Center teaching artists, as well as guest artists/choreographers who will be creating with the students during the 3-week intensive.
We are honored to welcome back guest artist Marcus Jarrell Willis (New York). Marcus, like Toni and Uri, danced with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for several years and has gone on to develop his own voice as a choreographer nationally and internationally. Recently, Willis was named the 2018 City Pages “Best Choreographer” for Sensible Existence, a work he created for TU Dance.
We welcome for the first time guest artist Maurya Kerr (San Francisco), who danced with Alonzo King LINES Ballet for the majority of her career and has also gone on to teach and create her own work with her company tinypistol. Kerr and TU Dance Center School Director Laurel Keen shared several years together at LINES.
Throughout the technique and workshop classes, inspiration will be drawn from the philosophies of these two iconic companies (Alvin Ailey and LINES) that are already woven into the training at TU Dance Center. In addition to these shared backgrounds, we are excited by the artistic voices that Willis and Kerr have cultivated in their own work and how they balance these two elements when working with students. There will be several in-depth discussions where students, faculty and guests will have the opportunity to engage around topics affecting the environment of young dancers today.
TU Dance Center fosters an environment where each individual is welcomed and supported as they are challenged artistically and physically through the artform of dance. Our goal is for each student to develop and incorporate new technical skills and discover a clearer sense of their artistic voice and the artistic questions they would like to pursue. The Summer Intensive will culminate in a performance opportunity for its participants.
For level placement, please contact School Director Laurel Keen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (612) 440-9028.
For more information and to register, click here.
Marcus Jarrell Willis has performed with RIOULT, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Tania Pérez-Salas Compañía de Danza and was a member of Ailey II. Willis performed with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from 2008-2016 traveling around the world performing, teaching numerous masterclasses and participating through Outreach in various communities both locally and abroad. He has been a resident teacher for the KCFAA Paseo Project and was a member of the KCFAA Ailey Trio, leading lecture demonstrations in schools around the Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas area. Willis is a returning teacher at Centre Chorégraphique James Carles Stage International de Danse in Toulouse, France.
He has presented his choreographic work in the 2009 TDDC Contemporary Dance Festival in NYC, The Ailey Dancer’s Resource Fund performances, The Dance Gallery Festival, The Moving Beauty Series and Gdánsk Festival Tańca in Poland. Commissions include works created for Ailey II, TU Dance, Company Danzante, The Juilliard School, The Ailey School, University of Minnesota, Lucia Marthas Institute for the Performing Arts in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Satellite Collective, The Dance Gallery Festival Level Up Commission in 2013 and The 92nd Y Dance Introduction Series, among others. Willis is the Founder of MJ Willis Project-Inc, which made its debut in Wales in 2017, premiering “My Brother, Dear Sister”. He was named Best Choreographer for TU Dance creation, Sensible Existence, in City Pages 2018 Best of the Twin Cities. Currently, he is the 2018/19 Leverhulme Choreography Fellow at Rambert Dance in London.
Maurya Kerr is a choreographer, educator, performer, and the artistic director of tinypistol, where her choreographic work has been honored by numerous awards, grants, and commissions. She was an ODC artist-in-residence from 2015 to 2018, and completed her MFA through Hollins University in 2016, writing her thesis on people of color and their access to, or prohibition from, wonderment. She was a member of Alonzo King LINES Ballet for twelve years, and most recently performed in The Foundry’s Deep South, and BodyCartography Project’s felt room at SFMOMA and the University of Minnesota’s Weisman Museum. In 2017 she co-founded the tiny little get down, a quarterly dance party intended to defiantly and subversively fortify otherness through embodied joy and the power of the collective.
Join teaching artists Thern Anderson & Mary Moore Easter in a dance and writing workshop with curriculum designed for adults ages 55+. Participants will explore creative exercises in which the two art forms are inextricably linked and expand their range of physical expression through improvisational activities and practicing set choreography. Movement will be used as a prompt for writing a variety of texts. Classes are accompanied by live music. There will be a culminating event on the last day of class.
Participants of all levels and abilities are welcome. No previous experience is necessary. Limited spaces available. This workshop is free.
May 6-July 1 | Mondays, 2:00-3:30pm (no class on May 27 in observance of Memorial Day)
Sample class: Thursday, May 2 | 2:00-3:30pm
TU Dance Center, 2121 University Ave W, St. Paul, MN 55114
Please contact TU Dance Education & Outreach Coordinator Kaitin Kelly Benedict at email@example.com or (651) 505-3264 with questions and to register.
TU Dance Center is located at 2121 University Avenue West, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55114. Find us on the north side of University Avenue, one block east of Vandalia, located directly behind Subway on the building’s east side. Free parking in the lot in front of TU Dance Center.
Teaching Artist bios:
Thern Anderson is a dance educator with a wealth of experience teaching children, adults, professional dancers and community groups. Thern brings somatic movement principles and improvisational skills to her teaching of modern dance techniques. In teaching dance to beginning adults, her philosophy is that anyone can dance and find pleasure in movement. Classes include the study of body and spatial awareness, rhythm and phrasing, ensemble dancing, and injury prevention. Students learn through modern dance phrases as well as improvisational structures.
Mary Moore Easter’s first poetry collection, The Body of the World, was published by MadHat Press in 2018. The manuscript was a finalist for the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in 2017. A Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and Cave Canem Fellow, Easter is published in POETRY, The New York Times, Seattle Review, Water Stone, Calyx, Pluck!, Persimmon Tree, Fjord’s Review, The Little Patuxent Review and the 2015 anthology Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota. She holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence and an M.A. from Goddard. Born in Petersburg, Virginia to parents on the faculty of then-segregated Virginia State College, she was as immersed in their artistic and intellectual interests as she was in limitations segregation imposed on her black world. She re-rooted as faculty at Minnesota’s Carleton College where she was founder and director of the Dance Program.
This activity is supported by a Seeding Vitality Arts MN grant from Aroha Philanthropies.
In anticipation of the TU Dance 15th Anniversary Spring Concert at The O’Shaughnessy on May 3-5, 2019, please join Artistic Directors Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands for an informal in-studio showing celebrating TU Dance’s 15th anniversary performance season. The showing will feature excerpts from the spring concert program, an unprecedented evening of works by legendary choreographers that have given form to the shared vision of TU Dance founding Artistic Directors Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands.
The performance program will include two works by renowned modern dance pioneer Alvin Ailey. Night Creature (1974), “a bubbly champagne cocktail of a dance”, celebrates Duke Ellington’s “sparkling music”. In Witness (1986), inspired by a recording of traditional spirituals sung by Jessye Norman, “…a female soloist embarks on a spiritual journey that echoes the repeated lyric ‘my soul is a witness for my Lord.’” The program also features Urban Bush Women Founding Artistic Director Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s Walking with Pearl…Africa Diaries (2004)—a tribute to dance anthropologist Pearl Primus—narrated live by Ms. Zollar during the TU Dance performances, and a reprise of Ronald K. Brown’s Where The Light Shines Through (2017) originally created for TU Dance, which tells a story of solidarity and perseverance.
FRIDAY | April 12, 2019
Doors open at 5:00pm. Showing begins at 5:30pm. This event is free and open to the public.
TU Dance’s 15th Anniversary Season is supported in part by generous gifts from the Rosemary and David Good Family Foundation, The Saint Paul Cultural STAR Program and the Markell C. Brooks Fund for Dance of The Minneapolis Foundation with production support from The O’Shaughnessy.
TU Dance Center is located at 2121 University Avenue West, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55114. Find us on the north side of University Avenue, one block east of Vandalia, located directly behind Subway on the building’s east side. Limited parking is available in the lot in front of TU Dance Center. Additional parking is available in the Subway overflow parking lot located east of the TU Dance Center parking lot and in the north side lot accessible by taking a right on Vandalia and a right on Charles.
THIS WORKSHOP HAS BEEN CANCELLED
Please join us for a 3-Day Workshop Series with Uri Sands, Leslie Parker and Laurel Keen. Participants will begin each day with a brief class or warm-up followed by a workshop format including improvisation, phrase work and discussion. There will be a common thread of composition investigation throughout the series. Sands, Parker and Keen will each bring their own insights into how they view the creative process and tools that can be utilized in the making of new work, whether you are a maker, a dancer or both.
Open to advanced pre-professional students and professional dancers.
Wednesday, April 3, 5:00-7:30pm with Uri Sands
Thursday, April 4, 5:00-7:30pm with Laurel Keen
Friday, April 5, 5:00-7:30pm with Leslie Parker
Uri Sands (TU Dance Artistic Director and Choreographer) has received national recognition for choreography that is notable for the fusion of classical elegance with edgy contemporary action, for pulsating intensity with poetic lyricism. A native of Miami, Uri trained at New World School of the Arts, and performed as a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for five years, Philadanco, Minnesota Dance Theatre, James Sewell Ballet, as principal dancer with North Carolina Dance Theatre, and as guest artist with Complexions under the direction of Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson. His choreographic commissions include, among others, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican University of California, Dance St. Louis, VocalEssence, Zenon Dance, Penumbra Theatre, North Carolina Dance Theatre and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Uri has received the Princess Grace Award in choreography, the Joyce Foundation Award and the McKnight Artist Fellowship in Choreography. He was named City Pages’ 2011 Choreographer of the Year, and–along with Toni-Pierce-Sands–the 2010 StarTribune Artist of the Year. Uri was recently named as a 2015 USA Fellow, receiving the Knight Fellowship in Dance together with TU Dance co-founder Toni Pierce-Sands.
Leslie Parker (TU Dance Center Guest Teaching Artist) is a dance artist/maker, improviser, performer, and educator with an archive of embodied memories of 34 years of studying, researching, teaching and performing contemporary and sacred dance practices of the African Diaspora. Informally, her training is credited to a fierce community of activists, organizers, and artists who emphasize the significance of community while restoring and/or maintaining its vibrancy. Formally, she holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance and an MFA in Dance from Hollins University in partnership with The Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm, The Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts and The Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company. She is a 2017 Bessie Award winner for Outstanding Performer and was recently awarded the Jerome Foundation’s 2019-2020 Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship.
Laurel Keen (School Director, TU Dance Center) began her training with Minnesota Dance Theatre and went on to study at School of American Ballet, Dance Aspen School and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. After performing professionally with Minnesota Dance Theatre, she spent a decade alongside Alonzo King as a company member with LINES Ballet in San Francisco, where she originated 21 roles, toured extensively throughout the U.S. and internationally, earned the prestigious Princess Grace Award, and was featured on the covers of Dance and Pointe magazines. Laurel moved back to the Twin Cities in 2011 and earned her degree as a physical therapist assistant from St. Catherine University and worked with Reynolds Rehab Physical Therapy and Orthology Physical Therapy. Laurel has taught for TU Dance, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Alonzo King LINES Ballet and the University of Minnesota and has served as School Director at TU Dance Center since 2015 under Artistic Directors Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands.
Photo: Laura Scher
Please join Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy for a Bharatanatyam master class at TU Dance Center.
Taught by Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy of Ragamala Dance Company, this master class introduces participants to the Pandanallur lineage of Bharatanatyam, focusing on the rhythmic, gestural, and expressive vocabularies that are the underpinnings of the form. In addition to active instruction, the class explores concepts of lineage, aesthetics, the close relationship between music and movement in Bharatanatyam, the evolution of culturally rooted art forms, and their ongoing relevance in the 21st century. This class is open to any level of experience.
Saturday, March 23 | 2:00-3:30pm
Cost: $16, online pre-registration required.
Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy are Artistic Directors of Ragamala Dance Company, founded by Ranee in the Twin Cities in 1992. As choreographers and performers, they explore the dynamic tension between the ancestral and the contemporary, highlighting the fluidity between the secular and the spiritual, the inner and the outer, the human and the natural. Their training in the South Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam under legendary dancer/choreographer Alarmél Valli, known as one of India’s greatest living masters, is the bedrock of their creative aesthetic.
Most recently, Ranee and Aparna were awarded 2018 Guggenheim Fellowships and selected as 2017 Research Fellows by the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (Italy). Their work has been commissioned by Lincoln Center, the Krannert Center for Performing Arts, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, and the Walker Art Center, and presented by the Kennedy Center, Joyce Theater, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, American Dance Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, International Festival of Arts and Ideas, University Musical Society, Cal Performances, Just Festival (Edinburgh, U.K.), Bali Arts Festival (Indonesia), and National Centre for Performing Arts (Mumbai, India), among others.
Ranee currently serves on the National Council on the Arts, appointed by President Barack Obama. She is a recipient of a 2014 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a 2012 United States Artists Fellowship, and a 2011 McKnight Distinguished Artist Award.
Aparna is a recipient of a 2016 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a 2016 Joyce Award, a Bush Fellowship for Choreography, and was selected as one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch for 2010.
This event is part of the Ragamala Rooted community engagement series. Ragamala Rooted is supported in part by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation through the Knight St. Paul Arts Challenge, the Mardag Foundation, the F.R. Bigelow Foundation, The Saint Paul Foundation, Target, and the City of St. Paul Cultural Sales Tax Revitalization Program.
Photo credit: Grant Halverson
Join visiting guest artist Marjani Forté-Saunders for a master class for Intermediate/Advanced students at TU Dance Center.
Marjani Forté-Saunders is a Mother, choreographer, performer, a collaborative artist, community organizer and most recently a 3 time Bessie award winning choreographer and performer, for her latest work Memoirs of a… Unicorn. Anchored in a steady collaboration with partner and composer Everett Asis Saunders (New Music USA Awardee), the duo have produced seven award-winning projects over the last 10 yrs. Marjani is an Inaugural recipient of the UBW Choreographic Center Fellowship and a two-time Princess Grace Foundation awardee. Her work has been incubated in residencies at the Maggie Allesee National Choreographic Center (MANCC), Lower Manhattan Cultural Center Extended Life Residency, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, CUNY Dance Initiative, 651 Arts and Movement Research. Humbly, she defines her work by its lineage stemming from culturally rich, vibrant, historic, loving, irreverent conjurers!
TU Dance is seeking guest choreographers for the 2019-2020 Season. Interested Choreographers should submit their materials to firstname.lastname@example.org, including CV/résumé, work sample and a minimum of two personal references. Please include information about any upcoming performances of your work as it may be possible for the Artistic Directors to attend. Interviews are by invitation only. The Artistic Directors will make a pre-selection based on the materials you provide. Only those choreographers selected in the pre-selection process will be contacted for an interview.
Photo by Michael Slobodian
Call for Artists
TU Dance is now considering dancers for the 2019-2020 Season. Interested Artists should submit their materials to email@example.com, including CV/résumé, work sample (YouTube or Vimeo links only), headshot and a minimum of two personal references. Please include information about any upcoming performances as it may be possible for the Artistic Directors to see your work. In-person auditions are by invitation only. The Artistic Directors will make a pre-selection based on the materials you provide. Only those dancers selected in the pre-selection process will be contacted for an in-person audition.
Thank you for your interest in working with TU Dance!
Photo by Michael Slobodian
Join guest artists Ron K. Brown and Arcell Cabuag for a series of dance classes at TU Dance Center.
The master class is designed for intergenerational participants with a wide range to no dance experience. Classes begin center floor with an emphasis on alignment, rhythm and using the body to express ideas and themes; strength, prayer, and celebration.
Open classes for beginning/intermediate/
Morning open classes: Monday, February 11 with Ron K. Brown and Wednesday, February 13 with Arcell Cabuag, 9:30-11:00am
Master class: Tuesday, February 12 with Ron K. Brown, 4:30-6:00pm
Cost: $14/open class payable at the door (class cards accepted). $16 for the masterclass, pre-registration required.
(pre-register only for Master Class)
Ron K. Brown’s bio.
Arcell Cabuag’s bio.