Kyle Abraham Creates New Work for TU Dance

Celebrated New York choreographer and MacArthur Fellow Kyle Abraham was at TU Dance Center in March, creating an original work for TU Dance. Commissioned through the generosity of the David & Rosemary Good Family Foundation, Abraham’s new work, Candle, divides the space between solo figure and duet form as a way of focusing on isolation and longing. Created as a 3-part vignette, each section uses songs that Abraham equates with varying aspects of loving and longing. Candle will premiere at the upcoming 2016 TU Dance spring dance concert at the Cowles Center in Minneapolis.

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Abraham’s choreography has been presented around the United States at venues such as Dance Theatre Workshop, Bates Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Fall for Dance Festival at New York’s City Center, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, On The Boards, Portland’s Time Based Arts Festival, REDCAT, Philly Live Arts, Danspace Project, and the Harlem Stage. His work has also been seen internationally at The Okinawa Prefectural Museum (Japan), Springboard Danse Montreal (Canada), Project Arts Centre (Ireland), and the Internationales Solo-Tanz-Theater Festival (Germany), as well as various locations in Jordan and Ecuador. Abraham is founder and Artistic Director of Abraham In Motion.

Photos:  Upper – Kyle Abraham, photo courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Lower – Kyle Abraham in rehearsal at TU Dance Center, pictured with company member Darwin Black

Ballet Workshop with Laurel Keen: January 14-16

Photo courtesy of Alonzo King Lines Ballet

Jan. 14 and 15, 5:00-8:00pm
Jan. 16, 10:00am-1:00pm

A 3-day workshop for intermediate and advanced students, including:

Investigative Ballet Class: Taking time to break down the fundamentals of ballet technique and how they can best serve the “versatile dancer” of today. The goal of this class is making the familiar new again. By seeking a balance between clarity and abandon, we can allow this ancient art form to speak to us in a new way.

Contemporary Ballet Phrase Building:  Dancers will take an active role in this class as we take elements discovered in class and push them further in hopes of revealing new ways of moving. Dancers will learn how to honor their own way of moving, while still feeling supported by the exquisite framework that classical ballet technique has to offer.

Cost: $150

Visit tudance.org/programs to register

Laurel Keen Named Director of the School at TU Dance Center

TU Dance Artistic Directors Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands are pleased to announce the hiring of Laurel Keen as Director of the School at TU Dance Center. Keen, whose outstanding performing career includes nearly a decade with the San Francisco’s renowned Alonzo King Lines Ballet in San Francisco, will provide day-to-day leadership of the rapidly growing dance education program.

“Laurel’s fresh perspective on training for aspiring young dancers, coupled with her unparalleled ability, wisdom and breadth of knowledge in the field of contemporary ballet, will have a profound impact on TU Dance Center students,” noted Toni and Uri. “How fortunate we are, that Laurel– one of the leading contemporary dance artists of this era–has chosen to deepen her work in dance, here at home in the Twin Cities.”

Laurel Keen Named Director of the School at TU Dance Center

TU Dance Artistic Directors Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands are pleased to announce the hiring of Laurel Keen as Director of the School at TU Dance Center. Keen, whose outstanding performing career includes nearly a decade with the San Francisco’s renowned Alonzo King Lines Ballet in San Francisco, will provide day-to-day leadership of the rapidly growing dance education program.

“Laurel’s fresh perspective on training for aspiring young dancers, coupled with her unparalleled ability, wisdom and breadth of knowledge in the field of contemporary ballet, will have a profound impact on TU Dance Center students,” noted Toni and Uri. “How fortunate we are that Laurel——one of the leading contemporary dance artists of this era——has chosen to deepen her work in dance, here at home in the Twin Cities.”

laurel 2 coversLaurel Keen has been a professional dancer since 1999 and has also been teaching dance for the last decade. As a student she trained at Minnesota Dance Theatre and Pacific Northwest Ballet, and attended several renowned summer programs. After performing professionally with Minnesota Dance Theater, she spent a decade alongside Alonzo King from LINES Ballet in San Francisco, where she originated 21 roles, earned the prestigious Princess Grace Award, and was featured on the covers of Dance and Pointe magazines. Laurel recently moved back to the Twin Cities and earned her degree as Physical Therapist Assistant, working with Reynolds Rehab and Orthology Physical Therapy. She has also been teaching for several schools in the Twin Cities including The School at TU Dance Center.

Founded in 2011 to provide excellent and accessible training for aspiring young dancers, the School at TU Dance Center has recently experienced significant growth, leading to an expansion at the current University Avenue facility, located in St. Paul’s Raymond-Midway neighborhood. Over 150 students are now enrolled in TU Dance programs, ranging from introductory classes for young children to advanced training for pre-professional dance artists.

“I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the school at TU Dance Center from the very beginning,” said Keen. “It has been a joy to watch it change and unfold into the unique, diverse and thriving school it is today. I feel humbled and grateful that Toni and Uri have entrusted me with this new role and the opportunity to join the TU Dance family in a more substantial way. I look forward to getting to know each individual student and helping them develop confidence in their voice, not only as a dancer, but as a human being. I hope to bring my experience to the table to support and carry out the vision that Toni and Uri have imagined for the School at TU Dance Center.”

Star Tribune Review: TU Dance 2015 Fall Concert

Star Tribune | STAGE & ARTS | NOVEMBER 22, 2015 — 9:15PM

TU Dance troupe taut with an urban edge
REVIEW: World premiere “Vibrations” is an ode to life in the modern city.

By CAROLINE PALMER Special to the Star Tribune
http://www.startribune.com/review-tu-dance-troupe-taut-with-an-urban-edge/352764511/

Shades of light and darkness define TU Dance’s fall season, which opened Friday night at the O’Shaughnessy in St. Paul. The troupe, led by Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, continues its record of delivering programs filled with variety, innovation and social commentary.

The world premiere “Vibrations, Sightglass San Francisco” is an ode to city living with sections titled “Morning Coffee,” “Power Lunch” and “Happy Hour.” But choreographer Uri Sands adds a distinct 21st-century twist to this suite set to sparkling Charles Mingus jazz compositions. His dancers are constantly in motion, their heads bobbing and twitching, their bodies unsettled and yearning for the digital pulse as they search for rhythmic connections.

Of note is a trio for Darwin Black, Randall Riley and Alexis Staley, all buttoned up and ready to conquer the financial district. They stomp to the flamenco-inspired beats, agitated as bulls locked up in a pen. All three are stylish and cool yet itching to seal a deal. But Sands directs the talents of these exquisite dancers away from the obvious power play, directing them into soaring leaps and long-limbed looseness. They have a higher purpose.

Italo-Canadian dancer/choreographer Gioconda Barbuto, in collaboration with the dancers, created the world premiere “Footprint” for TU through a 2015 Mc­Knight International Artist Fellowship. The piece offers a stark and poignant contrast in mood to Sands’ “Vibrations” — edgy and industrial, propelled by Gabriel Prokofiev’s taut score.

Barbuto, whose bio includes an early stint with Minnesota Dance Theatre before joining Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and Nederlands Dans Theater III, is aggressive with her dance-making in the best possible way. The TU company members embrace her fearlessness without hesitation.

The program closes with Sands’ “January: Part I” and “January: Part II” (2012). Whether or not he intended the reference, this work could be an update of “The Rite of Spring.” The 1913 work by Ballets Russes, set to Igor Stravinsky’s raging score, spoke to the end of innocence and the feral ferocity of ritual.

Sands conjures an equally bleak picture — his dancers are hunched and huddled in packs, propelled by the metallic waves of Brian McBride and Amon Tobin’s music. They whirl like dervishes and yet are also broken people navigating a dystopian world. Art should unsettle and reflect its troubled times. “The Rite of Spring” certainly did. Sands understands this, too.

Caroline Palmer is a Twin Cities dance writer.

Toni & Uri Honored as 2015 USA Fellows

TU Dance founders Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands were among 37 new USA Fellows for 2015 announced today by United States Artists (USA). As one of the leading honors for artists in the United States, each artist or collaborative receives an award of $50,000 to support their practice and professional development, opening up exciting creative possibilities through the transformative power of unrestricted financial support. The 37 recipients of this year’s awards were selected from over 400 nominated artists living in the United States and US Territories and were chosen by panels of expert peers in each artistic discipline. “USA Fellowships are awarded to innovative artists of all ages and at all stages of their careers, who are nominated for their commitment to excellence and the enduring potential of their work,” said United States Artists CEO Carolina García Jayaram. “We are honored to present this year’s Fellows, a group of artists who were selected through a rigorous, highly competitive process.”

http://www.unitedstatesartists.org/fellows/2015/toni-pierce-sands-uri-sands

TUDC Student Canaan Mattson Accepted To The Ailey School Summer Intensive

TU Dance student Canaan Mattson (front row, white shirt) has been awarded a full scholarship to The Ailey School’s summer intensive program in New York. Canaan, who just completed his Junior year at Como Park Senior High School, will live in NYC for six weeks and train alongside the very best young dancers in this highly selective program.
Recently, Canaan appeared in our campaign video to equip TU Dance Studio 2. If you haven’t yet made a gift to this 30-day campaign, please consider it. Your gift goes directly to purchasing music and dance equipment for use by remarkable young dancers like Canaan. We can’t do this without you!

Alanna Morris-Van Tassel Awarded McKnight Dance Fellowship

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Our congratulations to TU Dance company member Alanna Morris-Van Tassel, recipient of a 2015 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers.  A native of Brooklyn, New York, Alanna earned her BFA from the Julliard School and relocated to the Twin Cities in 2007, joining TU Dance as a company member.  Over the past 8 years, Alanna has made a deep contribution to the Minnesota dance scene through a wide range of performance and teaching activities.  In addition to this honor from McKnight, Alanna’s artistry was also recognized with a 2011 SAGE Award for Outstanding Performer.

 

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